The pro-life movement is gearing up for what could be the biggest ban on abortion since partial-birth abortion in 2003. The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act has already been introduced in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Dismemberment abortion, commonly known as dilation and evacuation or a D&E abortion, is a second-trimester abortion procedure reminiscent, as Jill Stanek shows us, of the “barbaric medieval practice of drawing and quartering.”
D&E abortions, which account for 96% of second-trimester abortions, or roughly 100,000 abortions a year, involve dilating the cervix and using forceps to rip the unborn child apart limb by limb so he or she is able to be removed from the womb, since the child at this age is too large to simply pass through the cervix without inducing labor. It is used more often than induction abortion, which is more expensive and often leads to live births.
D&E abortions are performed on babies from 14 weeks’ gestation through 24 weeks. At 14 weeks, unborn children have not only a beating heart, but brain waves, as well as arms, legs, eyelids, and fingerprints. Children at this age are known to kick, swim about, frown, and even grasp objects. The procedure has been described by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as such:
After sufficient dilation [of the cervix], a doctor inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab a living fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn apart limb by 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.
Even abortionist Jay Kelinson, who has performed over 10,000 abortions, refuses to do a D&E, saying, “[…] that is the most horrifying procedure I can think about. There is just absolutely no way I would ever do that.”
In a January 14, 2015 press release, the National Right to Life Committee announced that a dismemberment abortion ban will be a major focus of the their legislative work in 2015. Mary Spaulding Bach, J.D., National Right to Life director of state legislation, had this to say:
When abortion textbooks describe in cold, explicit detail exactly how to kill a human being by ripping off arms and legs piece by piece, civilized members of society have no choice but to stand up and demand a change. When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.
Just as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban led to the education of millions of Americans on just what happens in an abortion clinic, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act will likely open up the eyes of those who consider themselves pro-choice or pro-life with exceptions. The dismemberment ban will not include any exceptions. The ban could save thousands of lives each year as the public becomes more aware of how abortions are performed and abortionists may not switch to other methods for fear of live births of the children they intended to kill.