Two states move on new abortion restriction

Two states move on new abortion restriction
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Two states this week have gone forward with new abortion restrictions that supporters hope will become models for the country.

Bills in Kansas and Oklahoma ban what opponents of the procedure label a "dismemberment" abortion, a second-trimester procedure that has previously been known as "dilation and evacuation."

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The bills ban "clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments" from being used in what supporters of the bill portray as dismemberment. It has an exception for when the mother's life is in danger or there is a serious health risk to her. 

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed the ban into law on Wednesday, and Oklahoma's Senate later passed a similar bill, sending it to Gov. Mary Fallin's (R) desk. 

“The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act is the first of what we hope will be many state laws banning dismemberment abortions,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said in a statement about the Kansas law. “This law has the power to transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States.”

Estimates put the share of such procedures at about 9 percent of abortions in Kansas last year. 

The pro-abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood argues strongly against the laws, which could face court challenges. 

Dr. Vanessa Cullins, a vice president at Planned Parenthood, said in a statement that the measure is "deeply disturbing because it inserts politicians where they don't belong — directly into doctor's exam room — by restricting a procedure that evidence shows is not only safe, but the safest procedure for most women who are in need of an abortion in the second trimester."

There has also been controversy around new laws in Arizona and Arkansas that require doctors to tell women that drug induced abortions can be reversed. Some doctors groups say the advice is not scientifically sound.