A federal judge with a history of overturning pro-life laws in Texas has acted again and reversed the ban in Texas on D&E abortion (also called dismemberment abortion). Texas Senate Bill 8, an omnibus prolife bill, included an amendment that banned D&E abortion. The statute defined these dismemberment abortions as:
[…]an abortion in which a person, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, dismembers the living unborn child and extracts the unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps, or performs any combination of those actions on, a piece of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip the piece from the body. The term does not include an abortion that uses suction to dismember the body of an unborn child by sucking pieces of the unborn child into a collection container. The term includes a dismemberment abortion that is used to cause the death of an unborn child and in which suction is subsequently used to extract pieces of the unborn child after the unborn child’s death.
This barbaric and cruel procedure is banned in several states, but U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel said the D&E abortion ban was an undue burden to women seeking abortions. As Politico reports, the judge claimed the law would “force women seeking second trimester abortions to resort to riskier, invasive alternatives.”
While there’s no abortion procedure that is not brutal and barbaric — as each one destroys a new human life — the second trimester D&E abortion procedure is strikingly cruel. As late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy have explained, this sort of abortion literally destroys a baby piece-by-piece. It is the most common second trimester abortion in the U.S.
The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from 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.
Dr. Carhart agreed that “[w]hen you pull out a piece of the fetus, let’s say, an arm or a leg and remove that, at the time just prior to removal of the portion of the fetus, … the fetus [is] alive.” Dr. Carhart has observed fetal heartbeat via ultrasound with “extensive parts of the fetus removed,” and testified that mere dismemberment of a limb does not always cause death because he knows of a physician who removed the arm of a fetus only to have the fetus go on to be born “as a living child with one arm.” … In Dr. Carhart’s words, the abortionist is left with “a tray full of pieces.”
But Judge Yeakel says D&E abortion must continue in Texas, lest women be burdened. In his opinion, he wrote:
The court concludes that requiring a woman to undergo an unwanted, risky, invasive, and experimental procedure in exchange for exercising her right to choose an abortion, substantially burdens that right.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton plans to appeal the decision right away. Paxton’s office released a statement in response to the ruling, which says in part:
Abortion by dismemberment kills fetuses by tearing them limb from limb while they are still alive, causing the unborn victim to bleed to death. The U.S. Supreme Court holds that states have an interest in protecting and fostering respect for human life, including unborn life.
“A five-day trial in district court allowed us to build a record like no other in exposing the truth about the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortions,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We are eager to present that extensive record before the 5th Circuit. No just society should tolerate the tearing of living human beings to pieces.“