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Attorney General Curtis Hill defends Indiana's ban on second-trimester abortion procedure

Posted at 1:36 PM, May 20, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is defending the state’s latest abortion-related law, after the ACLU sued to try and keep it from going into effect last month.

Hill filed documents in U.S. district court this week, defending the state’s ban on dilation and evacuation abortions. They’re sometimes called “dismemberment abortions” by anti-abortion groups.

The ban would make it illegal for doctors to use instruments such as clamps, grasping forceps, tongs or scissors to remove a fetus from the womb. There is an exception to save the pregnant woman’s life or prevent serious health risk to the woman. The person performing such an abortion could face a felony charge of up to six years in prison.

There were 27 such abortions performed in Indiana in 2017. The dilation and evacuation method was used in 22 of the 28 abortions performed during weeks 14 through 20 in 2017, making it the most common second-trimester abortion method.

In the documents, Hill said there are other alternatives available during a pregnancy’s second trimester, such as inducing labor, using digoxin or potassium chloride before dismembering the fetus, and cutting the umbilical cord, killing the fetus.

But many in the medical community say the dilation and evacuation abortion is the safest procedure for ending a pregnancy in the second trimester.

“These other second-trimester abortion procedures, though repugnant, do not impose additional undue cruelty upon a live being,” Hill said, via a press release. “In Indiana, we should stand strong for a culture of life and protect our fellow humans as far as the U.S. Supreme Court will allow. Nonetheless, the fact remains that Indiana’s prohibition against dismemberment abortions would not affect the legality of any other legally permitted abortion procedures.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights group, laws banning the dilation and evacuation procedure are in effect in Mississippi and West Virginia. Similar bans are on hold due to court challenges in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.

Click here to read the documents Hill filed in court.