In a disappointing but not wholly unexpected ruling, a liberal Texas judge blocked a law Thursday that would protect unborn babies from dismemberment abortions.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked Texas Senate Bill 8 one day before it would have gone into effect, according to the Tribune News Service.
Signed into law earlier this summer, Texas Senate Bill 8 prohibits dismemberment abortions, a method typically used in the second trimester to kill nearly fully-formed, living unborn babies. It is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn baby is ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces while his or her heart is still beating.
Yeakel set up a 14-day temporary restraining order against enforcement of the law and scheduled another hearing for Sept. 14 to consider blocking it indefinitely, according to the report.
“The act leaves that woman and her physician with abortion procedures that are more complex, risky, expensive, difficult for many women to arrange, and often involve multi-day visits to physicians, and overnight hospital stays,” the judge wrote.
He also argued that women would “suffer irreparable harm by being unable to access the most commonly used and safest previability-second-trimester-abortion procedure,” which dismembers their unborn babies, the AP reports.
Yeakel’s ruling is not a big surprise. He is a liberal judge who often rules against pro-life legislation, according to Texas Right to Life.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said they will continue to defend the law in court, and many have strong hopes that Senate Bill 8 eventually will be upheld as constitutional.
After the ruling Thursday, Texas Right to Life issued a statement urging pro-life advocates not to despair.
“… this is the first step in a longer and consequential legal battle over this dynamic and historic legislation,” the pro-life organization said.
According to the pro-life group, Senate Bill 8 was written with the partial-birth abortion ban, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007, in mind.
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“Just like partial-birth abortions, dismemberment abortions are inhumane and gruesome acts of violence against the preborn child,” the pro-life group said in a statement.
Texas leaders are ready to defend the law – and unborn babies’ lives – all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Paxton said the law protects the sanctity and dignity of human life. His lawyers argued Tuesday that the law was written specifically to stop the brutal and gruesome dismemberment of living unborn babies in Texas.
Leaders with Texas Right to Life, who attended the hearing Tuesday, explained: “The abortion industry disingenuously argued in court that the Dismemberment Abortion Ban raises an undue burden to women seeking second trimester abortions by banning all D&E abortions. In filings and in court, the Attorney General’s office powerfully argued SB 8 clearly only prohibits one specific type of D&E abortion, which the state Legislature defined as ‘Dismemberment Abortions.’”
The legislation received strong support in the Texas legislature, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law in June.
The law made Texas the eighth state to protect developing preborn children from such a heinous act. Earlier this year, Arkansas enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act joining Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
The dismemberment abortion ban embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would prohibit “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 typically are used in dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures.