In a disappointing but not wholly unexpected ruling, a liberal Texas judge struck down a law today that would protect unborn babies from dismemberment abortions.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked Texas Senate Bill 8 one day before it would have gone into effect. Signed into law earlier this summer, Texas Senate Bill 8 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.
Yeakel struck down part of bill passed earlier this year by the Texas legislature that would have prohibited gruesome dismemberment abortions in the Lonestar State. A temporary restraining order preventing the law from taking effect, put in place by Yeakel in August, was set to expire this evening. The case is Whole Women’s Health v. Paxton.
Yeakel also argued that women would “suffer irreparable harm by being unable to access the most commonly used and safest previability-second-trimester-abortion procedure,” which dismembers their unborn babies.
“The Texas legislature overwhelmingly voted to protect pregnant mothers and their unborn children from being subject to such a dehumanizing experience,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Releasing the decision on the eve of a national holiday in the hopes that no one will notice is an act of cowardice. Rest assured, the right-to-life movement takes notice. We are confident that the Texas attorney general will appeal Judge Yeakel’s cruel decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and it will be overturned.”
Earlier this year, Texas became the eighth state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tear living unborn children apart limb from limb. Arkansas also enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act in 2017. Texas and Arkansas joined Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia
The law is based on model legislation from National Right to Life and is one the organization’s top legislative priorities.
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Dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy observed that in 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 (dismemberment) abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”
Texas leaders are ready to defend the law – and unborn babies’ lives – all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Paxton said the law protects the sanctity and dignity of human life. His lawyers argued Tuesday that the law was written specifically to stop the brutal and gruesome dismemberment of living unborn babies in Texas.
The legislation received strong support in the Texas legislature, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law in June.