A bill to ban dismemberment abortions has been approved by the Mississippi State Senate. This 40 to 6 vote comes after the Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 519 on a vote of 83-33 back in February.
The legislation is authored by Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb and was handled in the Senate by Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall.
Dismemberment abortion, performed on a fully-formed, living unborn baby, is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn child is literally ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces. The law embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would ban “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 are used in dilation and evacuation procedures.
“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.”
The Mississippi Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act would end such abortions.
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Mississippi Right to Life President Barbara Whitehead told LifeNews that she thanked the Senate for passing this legislation to protect unborn children in saying, “dismemberment abortion is unimaginably cruel and has no place in Mississippi.” Whitehead added: “We look forward to joining the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in passing this strong pro-life legislation.”
The legislation was amended in the Senate and the differences will need to be conferenced with the House before the legislation can go onto the Governor.
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.”
Supporters of the ban also point to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales ruling, which said: “Casey [the 1992 Supreme Court decision] does not allow a doctor to choose the abortion method he or she might prefer …[and physicians] are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures.”