A West Virginia state House committee passed a bill today that to ban the dismemberment abortion method that tears unborn babies limb from limb. The West Virginia Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, SB 10, successfully made it through the House Health Committee, where it passed by a voice vote.
The state Senate has already passed the bill.
This bill outlaws a form of abortion that “dismember[s] a living unborn child and extract[s] him or her one piece at a time from the uterus.” This heinous procedure undermines the dignity of all human life, and should be outlawed in West Virginia. In ordinary medical care, doctors have testified that there is no emergency that requires dismembering a living unborn baby.
“Dismembering a living, unborn child in the womb so that she bleeds to death is so horrific that it should be outlawed,” said West Virginians for Life President Wanda Franz. “West Virginians can indicate their support for this law by contacting their legislators and asking them to vote for SB 10.”
Abortion opponents described the dilation and evacuation procedure — considered the safest method to terminate a pregnancy after 13 weeks — as “barbaric” and “gruesome.”
“We have laws that protect dogs and cats,” said George Wallace, who heads the Cabell County chapter of West Virginians for Life. “We have humans here that are being butchered.”
“I think it’s actually a very good bill,” said the Rev. Brian O’Donnell, executive secretary of the Catholic Conference of West Virginia. “It really expresses what’s in the hearts and minds of the vast majority of West Virginians.”
“This law provides protection only when dismemberment is provided to a living, unborn child,” said Karen Cross, political director for the National Right to Life Committee.
“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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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.”