Friday, April 10, 2015

Oklahoma Approves Ban on Second Trimester Abortion Method

On Tuesday April 7, Kansas became the first state to officially ban a widely-used abortion method during a woman's second trimester. Following suit, Oklahoma soon approved the same ban on Wednesday. The ban specifically targets the "dilation and evacuation method," a controversial method in which the 12 to 14 week old fetus is removed from the womb with forceps, often in multiple parts. Although used in almost all second trimester abortions and supported by doctors as the safest, most practical technique for abortion at this stage, it has been an issue of debate for ethical reasons, prompting many critics to call it "dismemberment abortion." This law prohibits doctors from using any "forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments" (Murphy) to remove the fetus in pieces, except for in cases where the woman's health is in serious danger.

This law is capable of transforming current abortion policy in the country by highlighting and thereby preventing certain ethical issues. Now, however, Kansas is the state with the most restrictions on abortion, calling for questions about this bill's constitutionality in restricting a woman's right to abortion. This law begins to define a distinction to the extent of a woman's rights versus certain ethical issues, bringing about the debate that a woman should be able to choose for herself.

What do you think the implications of this law are, as it enters a subjective area of abortion policy?
Is it constitutional or rather an infringement on woman's rights?


CleoWienbar7 said...
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CleoWienbar7 said...

I am curious about the supposed "ethical issues" surrounding this method of abortion. I think this is a cover for peoples' squeamishness. Kansas lawmakers are relying on a getting a kneejerk reaction from their constituents, instead of focusing on the merits of the argument. In my opinion, there is not enough rational discussion about abortion. Yes, it is sad that any possible child is unwanted, but we must focus on reality, not what we wish reality was like. And reality includes women who are unable or unwilling to care for a child.
People may say the women should be limited to abortions in the first trimester, thus justifying limiting this method of second trimester abortion. However, they lack an understanding of the lives of the typical women getting an abortion. Say a woman finds out she is pregnant two weeks after her missed period. That already puts her at half way through the first trimester. By functionally limiting abortions to the first trimester, that would give a woman six weeks or less to make the difficult decision to have an abortion, then gather the money for an abortion (often a large amount of money, especially when travel time is factored in) and get time off work. Since many of these women are working minimum wage or already have children, limiting abortions in this way is burdensome and limiting.