An Oklahoma judge on Friday upheld a ban on a second-trimester abortion procedure involving removing an unborn baby from the womb via suction and forceps.
Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong ruled from the bench to let stand House Bill 1721, dubbed the “Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” which is a state ban on dilation and extraction abortion, a procedure that alternates the use of suction and forceps to remove the unborn baby’s parts until the uterus is empty. It is typically performed during the second trimester, many weeks after a heartbeat is detected and other organs have begun developing.
The law would allow exceptions when necessary to save the woman’s life or prevent a serious health risk to her.
“The law, which was put on hold during the legal challenge, was passed by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature and signed into law in 2015,” reported The Hill.
Oklahoma was the second state behind Kansas to pass a ban on the dismemberment of unborn children.
The lawsuit challenging the ban was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Tulsa’s Women’s Clinic. The same group also filed suit against Kansas for its law.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, praised the ruling.
“Dismemberment abortions are barbaric, brutal and subject unborn children to more cruelty that we allow for death row inmates,” Hunter said in a statement. “It is unconscionable to think that we would allow this practice to continue. Judge Truong is to be commended for declaring this legislation constitutional. Today is a major victory for basic human decency in Oklahoma.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights tweeted following the ruling that the decision is harmful to women and is the standard procedure in abortions beyond 14 weeks.
Similar laws have been blocked in states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas. The group said it plans to appeal the decision to the state’s Supreme Court.
Of the roughly 5,000 abortions performed in Oklahoma in 2018, nearly 7% were performed using this method, according to Oklahoma State Department of Health statistics.