Pro-abortion doctors testified Thursday that dismembering nearly fully-formed unborn babies while their hearts are beating should remain legal because it is the safest and best second-trimester abortion method.
Thursday was the first day of a Texas court battle between the abortion industry and pro-life state officials.
Earlier this year, the abortion chains Whole Woman’s Health and Planned Parenthood, along with other pro-abortion groups, challenged Texas Senate Bill 8, which 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.
In late August, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the law until the case could go to trial. Yeakel also is presiding over the hearing this week.
The abortion industry’s case is based on the claim that the law will outlaw the most common second-trimester abortion procedure (dilation and evacuation or D&E) and put an undue burden on women’s access to abortion.
Big Country News reports three doctors testified Thursday on behalf of the abortion industry. They argued that dismembering unborn babies while their hearts are still beating is the safest abortion method in the second trimester, and banning it would place an undue burden on women’s access to abortion.
Here’s more from the report:
Dr. Bhavik Kumar, medical director at Whole Woman’s Health, told the court the state’s requirement under the law for fetal demise, or for a death of a fetus in the uterus, prior to the D&E abortion would be an added step without any benefit to the patient.
… Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also showed up in court mid-afternoon and issued a brief statement to reporters afterwards.
“Live dismemberment is every bit as brutal, gruesome and inhumane as a partial birth abortion, something that Congress and the Supreme Court agree should be banned in this country,” Paxton said.
The attorney general said defending this law “recognizes unborn children should at least have the same rights in Texas as prisoners being executed for the most heinous crimes and animals who would never be torn alive.”
Witnesses for the abortion industry also testified that the law would force abortionists to use untested, riskier procedures that could hurt women.
… Dr. Mark Nichols said the regulation would force Texas physicians to choose from several methods of inducing “fetal demise” that carry increased risks of infection and injury for what is otherwise the safest and most common form of second-trimester abortion — dilation and evacuation, or D&E.
Two methods of injecting toxins into the fetus require special skills and equipment and are not guaranteed to work, forcing doctors to consider a second injection — adding to the health risks for women — or face prosecution for violating the law, he said.
“I would be very nervous about being able to provide this service and not violate the law,” said Nichols, who teaches at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
Dr. Robin Wallace, who works at a Dallas abortion facility, said another method to ensure that the unborn baby is dead before being dismembered would be to cut the umbilical cord. However, Wallace said this can be very tricky depending on where the placenta is, and there are greater risks of infection and perforations of the uterus.
The trial is expected to last five days.
Judge Lee Yeakel has a history of ruling against life-protecting legislation. However, pro-life leaders said they are not discouraged.
“We welcome the lawsuit,” Texas Right To Life’s Melissa Conway said in July. “We believe the state has a right to ban this gruesome procedure. The lawsuit just moves us one step closer to overturning Roe vs. Wade.”
The pro-life organization said if Yeakel rules against the law, the state likely will appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which considers protections for unborn life more fairly.
“Texas Right to Life supports Attorney General Ken Paxton’s efforts to defend the Dismemberment Abortion Ban in the highest court possible to honor Texas’ intent to protect innocent human Life,” the pro-life organization said in a statement.
The legislation received strong support in the Texas legislature this year, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law in June.
The law made Texas the eighth state to protect developing preborn children from such a heinous act. Earlier this year, Arkansas also enacted its Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act joining Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
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 while their heart still is beating.