The Pennsylvania state House today passed a pro-life bill to ban dismemberment abortions that tear off an unborn baby’s limbs.
Pennsylvania House Bill 1948, sponsored by state Rep. Kathy Rapp, would ban brutal dismemberment abortions that tear unborn babies limb from limb and prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies can feel pain. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote of 132 to 65, approved the bill today.
Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, said about 1,550 babies are killed in Pennsylvania every year in dismemberment abortions.
“These common abortions are performed on fully developed, preborn babies at their most vulnerable, and when they should be the safest,” said Gallagher. “In a dismemberment abortion, fully-formed babies are brutally torn apart limb from limb. We’ve seen ultrasound images of these babies clapping, dancing, and reacting to stimuli from outside the womb. Surely we can all agree that they do not deserve to be torn apart in the most horrific and gruesome way possible.”
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“The description sounds ghastly, uncivilized, and definitely inhumane. Yet it is a practice that takes place each year in Pennsylvania, killing an estimated 1,550 babies,” Gallagher said.
Dismemberment abortions have been described by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Gonzales v. Carhart as a procedure that is “laden with the power to devalue human life.” Of the approximately 1 million abortions performed annually in this country, almost 9% are performed by dismemberment. Approximately 1,550 Pennsylvanians died from this abortion method in 2014.
Former abortionist Dr. George Flesh has been quoted as saying:
“Tearing a developed fetus apart, limb by limb, is an act of depravity that society should not permit. We cannot afford such a devaluation of human life, nor the desensitization of medical personnel it requires. This is not based on what the fetus might feel but on what we should feel in watching an exquisite, partly formed human being dismembered.”
“Most countries are civilized enough to realize pre-born babies should not be torn apart. There are only seven countries in the world, including human rights-violating countries such as North Korea and China, that allow this terrible act. Pennsylvanians deserve better,” stated Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Pennsylvania affiliate of National Right to Life. “This is an important first step in removing us from that stigma. Now we call on the Pennsylvania Senate to act quickly to concur and on Governor Wolf to sign the bill to protect his most vulnerable constituents.”
State Rep. Kathy Rapp, lead sponsor of the bill, said the legislation will update two-decades old laws to reflect major advancements in science, medical technology and healthcare. She urged legislators on the House floor to consider the new evidence about unborn babies and vote to protect them.
“We cannot diminish one category of human life, the unborn, without diminishing the value of human life,” Rapp said on the House floor. “What is the value of human life?”
Some pro-abortion legislators appeared to be trying to disrupt Rapp during her opening remarks. At one point, House Speaker Mike Turzai asked Rapp to pause so he could call the room to order. Turzai asked legislators to sit down and take their conversations out of the room while Rapp talked, and he reminded them that all representatives have a right to be heard.
Dismemberment abortion, performed on a fully-formed, living unborn baby, is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn child is literally ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces. The law embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would ban “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation procedures.
Mississippi was the latest state to approve legislation that would ban dismemberment abortions when earlier this month, pro-life Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law. Then Louisiana adopted a similar ban.
“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”
But would such an abortion ban be constitutional given the Roe v. Wade decision? The group points to the high court’s ruling in the partial-birth abortion case as grounds for banning dismemberment abortions too.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn 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.” Justice Kennedy added in the Court’s 2007 opinion, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”
“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,” added Spaulding Balch. “When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.”
Supporters of the ban also point to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales ruling, which said: “Casey [the 1992 Supreme Court decision] does not allow a doctor to choose the abortion method he or she might prefer …[and physicians] are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures.”