Nebraska legislators are proposing a new bill that has recently become law in other states that would ban dismemberment abortions that tear babies limb from limb.
“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, whose group developed the bill. “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.”
A local news report provides further information about the new measure:
Five state lawmakers already have approached Nebraska Right to Life this summer about sponsoring anti-abortion bills next year, according to Julie Schmit-Albin, the group’s executive director.
“I’ve had more interest,” Schmit-Albin said last week.
Among those is Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett’s planned measure to target so-called “dismemberment abortions,” a term used to describe a dilation and evacuation procedure that is standard practice in abortions beginning 12 weeks after conception.
Schmit-Albin described so-called dismemberment abortion bans as “another chipping away” at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade guaranteeing women the right to abortion.
In 2010, Nebraska became the first state in the nation to ban most abortions beginning at 20 weeks. The change was based on the theory that by that point, a fetus has the capacity to feel pain. More than a dozen states have since passed similar bans.
Garrett spoke with Schmit-Albin about sponsoring a new bill earlier this summer, he said.
“We feel very passionate about the issue, but sometimes it just feels like, what is it that we can do?” Garrett said. “How can we make some progress on this?”
Nebraska’s leading pro-life group told LifeNews.com it strongly support the legislation.
“The Planned Parenthood videos are exposing how abortion really is and people who don’t normally see these images are appalled,” said Julie Schmit-Albin, Executive Director of Nebraska Right to Life.”We are thankful that Senator Garrett recognizes that more can be done by banning dismemberment abortions. The images of tiny body parts being picked over in these videos is impacting the conscience of elected officials everywhere.”
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Earlier this year, Oklahoma became the second state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tear them apart limb from limb. Previous to that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed similar legislation prohibiting dismemberment abortions in the state. Model legislation provided by National Right to Life is also under consideration in the legislatures of Missouri and South Carolina.
“We applaud the Oklahoma legislature for standing up for unborn children by passing the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said then. “This is a transformative law that has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States.”
“The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act is starting to transform the debate about abortion policy in the United States,” Tobias added. “We applaud the efforts of our affiliate, Oklahomans For Life, and the pro-life commitment of the Oklahoma legislature and Governor Fallin in seeing this groundbreaking bill become law in the Sooner State.”
Dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States, Tobias said.
“Governor Mary Fallin is to be commended for her quick action in signing into law the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which will prohibit this barbaric inhumanity in our state,” said Oklahomans For Life State Chairman Tony Lauinger. “We appreciate, also, the exceptional leadership of Representatives Pam Peterson and Senator Josh Brecheen for spearheading the enactment of this landmark lifesaving legislation.”
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.”