Sunday, February 22, 2015
Kansas Senate Passes Ban on Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure
PBS: Kansas may be the first state to ban common abortion procedure, by Marina Lopes:
Kansas’ state senate on Friday approved a bill banning an abortion procedure commonly used to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester, a victory for anti-abortion activists in what could become the United States’ first ban of this method.
The procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, involves dilating the woman’s cervix and using tools to remove the fetus and any remaining tissue from the uterus. Abortion rights activists say that the procedure, which is used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas, is the safest and cheapest option for women looking to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester. . . .
When the Supreme Court upheld the federal "Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act" in Gonzales v. Carhart, the majority opinion emphasized that "[a]lternatives are available to the prohibited procedure. As we have noted, the Act does not proscribe [non-intact] D&E." Justice Ginsburg, however, pointed out the disingenuousness of banning intact D&E on the grounds of its supposed relative gruesomeness. She wrote in her powerful dissent:
As another reason for upholding the ban, the Court emphasizes that the Act does not proscribe the nonintact D&E procedure. But why not, one might ask. Nonintact D&E could equally be characterized as "brutal" . . . . "[T]he notion that either of these two equally gruesome procedures . . . is more akin to infanticide than the other, or that the State furthers any legitimate interest by banning one but not the other, is simply irrational."
As Justice Ginsburg recognized, allowing bans on abortion procedures because they are "gruesome" is a slippery slope with no clear end. Kansas's proposed ban isn't about the gruesomeness of a particular procedure. It's about banning abortions, period.