A pro-life member of the U.S. Senate has introduced legislation that would ban dismemberment abortions that tear babies limb from limb.
Senator James Lankford today introduced the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act, which would prohibit the procedure of late-term dismemberment abortion across America. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, has sponsored the legislation in the house (HR 3515).
The legislation is based on a model state bill proposed by National Right to Life, which has already been enacted in multiple states.
The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off . . .”
This definition largely overlaps with what those in the abortion trade currently refer to as “dilation and evacuation” or “dilation and extraction” (D&E) abortions. The method is commonly used starting at about 14 weeks of pregnancy, and extending into the third trimester.
“There are many important national issues to address in Washington, DC, including our budget, education, energy and national security. But we must also work for social justice for all Americans. Among our most basic rights in America are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The pro-life community cannot relent in our fight to protect pre-born life,” Lankford told LifeNews.com.
He continued: “We disagree on many issues as a nation, including the issue of abortion. However, because of technological advancements, we clearly know that unborn children feel pain. Surely we can all agree that dismantling a child in the womb during a late-term abortion is inhumane and is not reflective of American values.”
Leading pro-life groups are on board with the legislation.
“In a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist uses steel tools and brute force to twist and tear off the arms and legs of a well-developed unborn child. If Hillary Clinton has anything to say about it,this common abortion method will continue unabated,” said Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life in an email to LifeNews.
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“No unborn child should be subjected to the brutality of having her arms and legs torn off with steel tools that grasp, tear, and crush,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.
Would such an abortion ban be constitutional given the Roe v. Wade decision? National Right to Life 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…”
“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said former 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.”
“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.”
Dr. Anthony Levatino is a pro-life physician from New Mexico but, before having a change of heart on the issue of abortion he was an OBGYN who also performed abortions. Levatino did as many as 1,200 abortions — some of them after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Then, after his daughter died in a tragic automobile accident, he re-evaluated his position on abortion and stopped doing abortions.
In January, Lankford was presented with the inaugural Pro-Life Leader Award during theEvangelicals for Life conference in Washington, DC. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family hosted the conference in conjunction with the Washington, DC March for Life event, an annual pro-life march on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
Lankford is a Member of the Senate Values Action Team, which serves as a liaison to organizations that are dedicated to advancing pro-life policies. Last year, Lankford introduced the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, which ensures organizations, private businesses, institutions of higher education, health care providers, and insurance companies are not forced to sponsor insurance coverage that violates their religious or moral beliefs. The House passed this bill in July, but it awaits action in the Senate.
Lankford delivered a passionate speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate about Planned Parenthood last July. Lankford also co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act, a bill to prohibit abortions past five months, and also introduced legislation to redirect taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood to Community Health Centers.