The Michigan House Criminal Justice Committee today voted 5-3 to pass two pro-life bills that ban dismemberment abortions that tear unborn babies limb from limb. The bills now move to the state House floor.
As news reports indicate, 8 percent of all abortions in Michigan involve this horrific abortion procedure.
The bills would prohibit physicians from using the dilation and evacuation procedure using forceps or another medical instrument to scrape a woman’s uterus and remove a fetus in pieces. The procedure is generally used after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
In 2014, the dilation and evacuation procedure accounted for 2,264, or 8 percent, of the 27,629 reported abortions in Michigan, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The legislation amends a 2011 ban on partial-birth abortions … by changing the title of the law to the “Partial-birth Abortion and Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act.”
The legislation would make it a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $50,000 fine for performing the procedure.
Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, is sponsoring the two-bill package, which are House Bills 4833 and 4834.
The procedure “is a gruesome, horrific and cruel type of abortion procedure whereby tiny unborn humans are literally ripped apart,” Cox told the House Criminal Justice Committee in testimony last month. “It seems unconscionable to me that this type of abortion exists, and it is time that this practice ended.”
“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.”
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D&E dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States and which was upheld in the Supreme Court. But 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…”
Testimony provided by Kansans for Life emphasized that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ban on the partial-birth method of abortion in 2007 after two cases, Stenberg v Carhart and Gonzales v Carhart. In both cases, the Court closely examined both the partial-birth and D&E/ Dismemberment abortion methods and found them to be “brutal.”
“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.”