The description sounds ghastly, uncivilized, and definitely inhumane. Yet it is a practice that takes place each year in Pennsylvania, killing an estimated 1,550 babies.
“The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety, though sometimes removal is completed with fewer passes. Once the fetus has been evacuated, the placenta and any remaining fetal material are suctioned or scraped out of the uterus. The doctor examines the different parts to ensure the entire fetal body has been removed.”
–U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing in the ruling known as Gonzales v. Carhart
Kennedy was describing a dismemberment abortion—a type of abortion which was considered an alternative to the partial-birth abortion banned by the Supreme Court.
But it was clear from his writing that Kennedy found the alternative highly troubling. Consider this quote: “No one would dispute that, for many, D&E (dismemberment) is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”
Moreover, when he wrote a dissent to the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling against a Nebraska partial-birth abortion ban, Kennedy stated emphatically:
“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. Dr. Carhart agreed that ‘[w]hen you pull out a piece of the fetus, let’s say, an arm or a leg and remove that, at the time just prior to removal of the portion of the fetus, … the fetus [is] alive.’ Dr. Carhart has observed fetal heartbeat via ultrasound with ‘extensive parts of the fetus removed,’ and testified that mere dismemberment of a limb does not always cause death because he knows of a physician who removed the arm of a fetus only to have the fetus go on to be born ‘as a living child with one arm.’ At the conclusion of a D&E abortion no intact fetus remains. In Dr. Carhart’s words, the abortionist is left with ‘a tray full of pieces.’”
And what abortionists themselves have said about dismemberment abortions can be even more telling:
University of Michigan abortionist Lisa Harris stated, “Doing second trimester abortions did not get easier after my pregnancy; in fact, dealing with little infant parts of my born baby only made dealing with dismembered fetal parts sadder.”
Dr. Jay Kelinson, an abortionist interviewed for a documentary called Eclipse of Reason, was asked whether he would do second trimester dismemberment abortions, even for medical reasons. He opined, “No, absolutely not. That is the most horrifying procedure I can think about. There is just absolutely no way I would ever do that.”
Dr. Warren Hern, a Colorado abortionist who has performed numerous dismemberment abortions and has written a textbook on abortion procedures, has boldly stated, “…there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator [of a D&E abortion]. It is before one’s eyes. The sensation of dismemberment flows through the forceps like an electric current.”
Pennsylvania now has an opportunity to ban brutal dismemberment abortions, thanks to House Bill 1948, which is sponsored by state Representative Kathy Rapp and a bipartisan contingent of some 100 other lawmakers.
Can’t we all agree that tearing a child limb by limb from a mother’s womb is wrong and should be stopped?
Action Item: Late-term dismemberment abortions are a horrible way for children to die, and can flood mothers’ hearts with profound and debilitating grief. Please join the campaign to end dismemberment abortions in Pennsylvania. If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, call your state representative and urge him or her to support House Bill 1948, the ban on dismemberment abortions. You can find your state rep here: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address .