Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a ban on the second-trimester abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation, making Louisiana the sixth state to prohibit the commonly used method.

The procedure, known as D&E, will only be allowed if necessary to prevent “serious health risk” to the mother when the ban takes effect Aug. 1.

Edwards’ office announced Tuesday that the Democratic governor had signed the prohibition, sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Johnson of Bossier City.

Anti-abortion groups describe the procedure as a “dismemberment abortion” and call it inhumane.

Opponents say that description isn’t medically accurate. They say the bill criminalizes the safest method of second-trimester abortion, leaving women at risk when they seek an alternative.

State courts have blocked similar laws in Kansas and Oklahoma.

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House Bill 1081: www.legis.la.gov