The leading pro-life member of Congress has introduced legislation that would ban dismemberment abortions that tear babies limb from limb.
Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 3515) in the U.S. House of Representatives to nationally ban dismemberment abortion, an abortion method that involves using steel tools to tear apart a well-developed unborn child by brute force. Pro-life Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Trent Franks (R-Az.) joined Smith as original co-sponsors of the legislation.
The legislation is based on a model state bill proposed by National Right to Life, which has already been enacted this year in Kansas and Oklahoma.
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.
“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.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed her state’s dismemberment abortion ban into law earlier this year.
Fallin issued a statement saying: “HB 1721 is an important pro-life measure that outlaws gruesome mid-term abortions. I am proud to sign a law that will strengthen protections for unborn children in Oklahoma.”
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“We applaud the Oklahoma legislature for standing up for unborn children by passing the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” said Tobias. “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.”
Prior 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.
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 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.