Starting July 1, dismemberment abortion in the state of Mississippi will be a crime punishable by law.
This developed after Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act on Friday, becoming the fourth state in the U.S. to end the medical practice.
The legislation was first passed in Kansas and subsequently in Oklahoma and West Virginia. It was also introduced in other states such as Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Idaho, Louisiana, Rhode Island and Utah.
Dismemberment abortion, also known as "dilation and evacuation" or "D&E" abortion, involves dilating a woman's cervix and then using a Sopher clamp and curette blade to dismember an unborn child and remove his or her body parts, reports Lifesite News.
It is typically done during the second trimester of pregnancy, the report says.
Church members and pro-life groups immediately praised the Mississippi state government for taking the bold step despite massive pressures from abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.
"Mississippi has taken a courageous and righteous step toward protecting children in the womb from the barbarity of a dismemberment abortion," Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told LifeSite News
"Gov. Phil Bryant, state legislators and every resident of Mississippi have reason to be proud today," he added.
Anja Scheib, president of Mississippi State Students for Life, also noted that "Mississippi has the opportunity to lead the nation in this basic human right" of life.
"Dismemberment of preborn children has to end in Mississippi to achieve basic human rights for our state," she added.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy reportedly observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions, "the fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off."
National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. observed that banning dismemberment abortion "has the potential to transform the debate when people realise that living unborn children are killed by being torn limb from limb."
Spaulding Balch lamented that civilised members of society often only stand up and demand change when they realise that the procedure of "ripping off arms and legs piece by piece" cannot be uglier as it is.
The Abortion Act, which was sponsored by Representative Sam C. Mims, R-McComb, passed the state House of Representatives 83-33 in February, and the state Senate 40-6 last month.
In March, the West Virginia Senate voted to override Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of a similar bill. Kansas and Oklahoma banned dismemberment abortions last year.
In signing the bill, Bryant said in his post on Twitter: "We're making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child."
He added that it is his goal to "end abortion" in the state.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, meanwhile, said in statement that the signing of the abortion bill is "a clear attack on women's health care as part of a plan to ban abortion across the board," according to Rewire News.