Today the Ohio Senate passed a bill to protect unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions.
Ohio Right to Life’s Dismemberment Abortion Ban (S.B. 145) was overwhelmingly approved by the Ohio Senate, 24-9. The legislation, which is sponsored by Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), is being heralded by Ohio Right to Life as the next step in the national strategy to end abortion.
The bill prohibits dismemberment abortions, a method typically used in the second trimester to kill nearly fully-formed, living unborn babies. It is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn baby is ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces while his or her heart is still beating. The dismemberment abortion ban embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would prohibit “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 typically are used in dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures.
“With as much as we’ve accomplished in the last six years, our dismemberment ban is arguably the most significant and groundbreaking legislation to date,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “For the first time since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, we’re advancing legislation that addresses the brute force of abortion head-on. Every year in Ohio, thousands of babies are brutally dismembered by the abortion industry, ripped limb from limb and extracted piece by piece. Ohio Right to Life applauds the Ohio Senate for taking us one giant step closer to adding this game-changing pro-life law to the record.”
Dismemberment abortion, otherwise known as dilation and evacuation (D&E), is a procedure in which the abortionist first dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses steel instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus. The D&E abortion procedure is usually performed between thirteen and twenty-four weeks LMP, when the baby is somewhere between the size of a lemon and a cantaloupe. In 2015, the Ohio Department of Health reported nearly 3,000 D&E abortions in the state of Ohio.
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The Dismemberment Abortion Ban is built in part on the precedent set in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) which upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, scaling back the scope of Roe v. Wade. In the Court’s opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court’s swing-vote on abortion, indicated a willingness to consider the harms of dismemberment abortions. He described what occurs in a D&E abortion: “[F]riction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus…” He continued, “No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”
“The brutality of dismemberment abortion has already been vetted and verified by the Supreme Court,” said Gonidakis. “If passed, this bill could set the stage for a winnable battle in the Supreme Court. If partial-birth abortion is gruesome enough to outlaw, why not dismemberment abortion? It’s far past time that Ohio leaves the archaic confines of Roe v. Wade behind. Dismembering a human person is wrong, and it is a shame that we even have to debate that. We thank Senate President Obhof and bill sponsors Senators Matt Huffman and Steve Wilson for their leadership in passing this legislation.”
The Ohio House is expected to take up the Dismemberment Abortion Ban in the fall when the legislature returns from summer recess.
Earlier this year, Texas became the eighth state to protect developing preborn children from such a heinous act. Before that, Arkansas enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act joining Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.
The passage of the bill coincides with the 50th anniversary of Ohio Right to Life’s founding. In more recent history, Ohio Right to Life has successfully advocated for the enactment of 18 pro-life laws. Since 2010, abortions have dropped 25 percent in Ohio, falling to a 39-year record-low in 2015.