Arkansas law criminalizes later abortion method

On January 27, 2017, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law HB1032, The Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. “Dismemberment abortion” is not a medical term. The procedure described in the bill describes dilation and evacuation, which is the surgical method used in the majority of later abortion procedures. By criminalizing the procedure, the ban stands to reduce access to safe abortion in the state. Without local providers who can offer clinically appropriate care without threat of prosecution, many women will be unable to afford the cost of traveling elsewhere in order to obtain the care they need. The law also allows women who have received this type of abortion to sue the physician who performed their abortion for civil damages. The husbands of women obtaining these procedures are also allowed under the new law to sue their wives and the doctors performing these types of abortions. This threat of legal action against women seeking abortions and abortion providers serves as a tactic to intimidate both groups and reduce the availability of a safe, effective, medical procedure.

The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arkansas, Rita Klar, has characterized the ban as “unconstitutional.” The ACLU will likely challenge this new law.


Bailey SP. Arkansas governor signs ban on common abortion procedure. Washington Post. January 27, 2017. Accessed Feburary 21, 2017.

Lanquist L. A new Arkansas abortion law basically bans second trimester abortions. Self. February 3, 2017.

Westcott L. ACLU to challenge 'unconstitutional' Arkansas abortion law. Newsweek. February 2, 2017.