JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri lawmakers are debating whether to criminalize a common second-trimester abortion method.
A House committee heard testimony Tuesday on bill that would ban doctors from using forceps, tongs or other medical implements to dismember a fetus in the womb to complete an abortion. Doctors who employ that procedure could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, as well as a civil lawsuit.
Bill supporters said those kinds of abortions are brutal, especially for fetuses advanced enough to feel pain. Rep. Tila Hubrecht said her bill would make abortions more humane.
Abortion rights advocates called the bill an unconstitutional, political intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship that would make abortions less safe.
Similar measures in Kansas and Oklahoma have been put on hold pending lawsuits.