Louisiana Legislature Passes Bill to Ban Dismemberment Abortions Tearing Off Baby’s Limbs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 17, 2016   |   7:13PM   |   Baton Rouge, LA

Several states have already approved or are considering legislation to ban the dismemberment abortion technique — used to tear off a baby’s limbs during the abortion procedure during the latter portions of pregnancy. The Louisiana legislature today approved the pro-life bill to ban dismemberment abortions.

This afternoon, Louisiana took a significant step towards becoming the 6th state in the nation to pass the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act when the Louisiana Senate approved the legislation by a 35-2 vote.

Senator Beth Mizell carried HB 1081 on the Senate floor on behalf of the bill’s author, Rep. Mike Johnson.  HB 1081 now heads to Governor Edwards’ desk for his signature.

HB 1081, the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act, authored by Rep. Mike Johnson, protects unborn babies by ending the brutal practice of dismemberment abortion in Louisiana. A dismemberment abortion, a subset of D&E abortions, is a second trimester abortion method where the abortionist uses forceps to seize and tear body parts from a live, unborn child.

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, on the passage of the legislation in the Senate, said, “I commend the Louisiana Senate for taking decisive bipartisan action to approve this important legislation.  Louisiana should not be a place where our fellow human beings, no matter whether they are born or unborn, are treated in a manner similar to that of dismemberment abortions.”

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Deanna Wallace, Legislative Director of Louisiana Right to Life, said the following on the bill’s passage, “We appreciate Senator Mizell and Representative Johnson for their leadership to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions.  This gruesome procedure kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb.  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 important milestones.”

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.

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. Now, Louisiana has started the process of following suit.

“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.”