Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear a case which challenges whether Alabama’s law banning dismemberment abortions is constitutional.
The State of Alabama announced that Marshall had filed a petition against the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling last August regarding the state’s 2016 law that bans dismemberment abortions, noting that the state has what it deems as “more humane” second trimester abortion methods for the seven percent of women who undergo second trimester abortions, thus, making dismemberment abortions unnecessary. The state announced:
“The constitutionality of a state ban on dismemberment abortion is an important question of national significance,” Marshall wrote in the petition. “At least nine states have enacted laws to ban dismemberment abortion. Litigation over some of these similar abortion laws is pending in the Fifth Circuit, the Eighth Circuit and multiple state courts.”
In a dismemberment abortion, a doctor dismembers a living unborn child and extracts him or her one piece at a time from the uterus using clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, or scissors. Attorney General Marshall argued that Alabama’s law is similar to the federal ban on partial-birth abortions which was enacted in 2003 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
“… Federal law constitutionally prohibits partial-birth abortions. And there is no ‘meaningful difference’ between death-by-dismemberment abortion in the womb and partial-birth abortion outside it. As the court of appeals expressly recognized, only this Court can resolve the inconsistency in treatment between partial-birth and dismemberment abortion.”
Dismemberment abortions are also called D&E, or dilation and evacuation, abortions. Usually committed in the second trimester, when the preborn child can almost certainly feel pain, this is a particularly violent abortion procedure which takes several days to complete, and during which a preborn child is ripped apart limb from limb.
AL.com reports that the ACLU issued a statement in response:
“The state’s request that the high court take up the case is part of a long-standing strategy to ban abortion in Alabama,” Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, said. “The ACLU is committed to seeing this fight through to ensure that all women in Alabama can get the care they need without political interference, shame, or stigma.”
As noted by the Washington Post, these dismemberment abortion laws have also been blocked in Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, which means if the court chooses to rule on this case, there will be wide-reaching implications for the future of abortion methods in this nation. If the Supreme Court hears and rules in favor of Alabama’s request, it would threaten the livelihood of many late-term abortion facilities in this nation. While there are other ways to commit second trimester abortions, dismemberment abortions are thought to be cheaper for abortionists and also provide them with more “lucrative” results: fetal parts, as revealed in The Center for Medical Progress videos, and referenced by the Family Research Council.
The full Writ of Certiorari filed before the high court can be accessed here.