In August, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a hold on a lower court’s order that allows the continuation of D&E abortions in the state of Texas. The U.S. District Court order in question occurred almost three years ago and reversed a Texas ban on D&E (dismemberment) abortions.
The ban on D&E abortions passed as part of an omnibus pro-life bill in 2017. The omnibus bill, Senate Bill 8, included an amendment which specifies:
[…] 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.
Several abortion businesses, including Whole Woman’s Health and Planned Parenthood, sued to block the Texas provision. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who has a history of overturning pro-life Texas laws, claimed the ban constitutes an undue burden and enjoined Texas from enforcing the law.
In a statement, the Texas Attorney General’s Office noted that “the U.S. Supreme Court previously held that states may pass laws to protect and foster respect for unborn life by banning inhumane abortion procedures.” D&E abortion, which rips the limbs from a living child in the womb with a beating heart is understandably deemed inhumane.
Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “Protecting the sanctity of life continues to be one of my top priorities. I remain optimistic that the Fifth Circuit will uphold Texas’ lawful authority to protect unborn children from this abhorrent procedure.”
The entire en banc petition is available here.
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