The following comes from an April 14 story on LifeSiteNews.

Oklahoma has become the second state in the nation to ban the procedure of dismemberment abortions, the most common form of second-trimester abortion.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act into law late last night, protecting the state’s unborn babies from the process of dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion, in which unborn babies torn apart limb-from-limb.

The bill, which takes effect on November 1, passed the state legislature by lopsided majorities, clearing the state House of Representatives 84-2 in February, and the state Senate last week by a 37-4 margin.

Responding to the victory in Oklahoma, National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias said focusing on this process “has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States.” The NRLC’s Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, said that by the point a D&E abortion would take place in the second trimester, the unborn child already has “a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place.”

D&E abortion accounts for approximately 96 percent of all second trimester abortions, according to the National Abortion Federation – an estimated 100,000 abortions a year…


The following comes from an April 13 letter to the editor in the New York Times.

To the Editor:

Re “Kansas Limits Abortion Method, Opening a New Line of Attack” (front page, April 8):

Beyond the fact that numerous studies have demonstrated that dilation and evacuation abortions are safer than the other methods of second-trimester abortion, there is another reason that about 96 percent of the more than 140,000 second-trimester abortions occurring annually in the United States use this method: They are considerably less emotionally stressful for women.

The induction method, the major alternative to a dilation and evacuation procedure, involves inducing labor, a process that can stretch out for an uncertain period of time, can be quite painful and culminates in a stillbirth.

Ironically, when the Supreme Court in 2007, in the controversial Gonzalez v. Carhart decision, banned another, more rarely used procedure, known in medical circles as “intact dilation and extraction” (and by opponents as “partial-birth abortion”), the majority took pains to point out that dilation and evacuation procedures would still be permitted.

To be sure, in the abstract, the details of dilation and evacuation abortions, as with many other medical procedures, are upsetting to many. But in the context of real women’s lives, the availability of these abortions is essential.

Why are politicians banning methods that are safer, cheaper and less stressful — unless punishment of women is the point?

Berkeley, Calif.

The writer is a professor in the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco.