Alabama is the latest state where a pro-life piece of legislation to ban dismemberment abortions is advancing. The law would follow on the heels of states like Kansas and Oklahoma as well as Mississippi and Louisiana — here bans have are been approved or are advancing through the legislature.
Yesterday, the Senate Health Committee approved SB363 Sponsored by Sen. Phil Williams, a Republican, on an 11-0 vote. The vote surprised Cheryl Ciamarra, the head of Alabama Citizens for Life, who told LifeNews it’s coming at the last minute.
“Thanks to Sen. Gerald Dial (R) committee chairman and Sen. Greg Reed (R) committee chairman for allowing a vote today as there are only 6 legislative days left this year in the legislative session,” she said.
“The surprise vote was Sen. Linda Coleman (D) who generally opposes the majority of pro-life legislation. As a Catholic she on numerous occasions has expressed a respect for the dignity of human life. Today she demonstrated that there are common sense limits to maintain a civilized society. It is highly unusual for any prolife legislation to receive unanimous vote,” Ciamarra added.
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.
“Alabama children should be protected by law from being torn limb from limb,” said Bill Klein, President of Alabama Citizens For Life. “No human should die this way in a civilized society. It shows a total disrespect for the sanctity of human life.”
Mississippi was the latest state to approve legislation that would ban dismemberment abortions when earlier this month, pro-life Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law.
“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.”
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.”
NLRC’s model is the law in four states: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Mississippi. Similar legislation has also been introduced in Pennsylvania, Minnesota , Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Utah.