Kentucky’s last abortion clinic will be allowed to continue dismembering unborn babies this week after a judge blocked a new state law banning the gruesome procedure.
WFPL Radio reports a federal court judge temporarily blocked the law at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union and the EMW Surgical Center in Louisville, the last abortion facility in Kentucky.
The groups sued just a few hours after Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed the law to protect unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions.
The law prohibits abortions “that will result in the bodily dismemberment, crushing, or human vivisection of the unborn child” after 11 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are allowed for medical emergencies. According to state health data, 537 unborn babies were aborted this way in 2016 in Kentucky.
The ACLU argues that the law “forces women to either leave the state to undergo the procedure or forego” an abortion in the second trimester, according to the AP.
Responding to the ACLU earlier this week, Elizabeth Kuhn, communications director for the governor, told WKMS that the lawsuit is “disturbing” because the new law bans a “gruesome” and “horrific” abortion procedure.
Dismemberment abortion 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 procedure is usually performed between 11 and 24 weeks LMP, when the baby is somewhere between the size of a lemon and a cantaloupe.
By 11 weeks, unborn babies already have fingers and toes, heartbeats and detectable brain waves. They can respond to touch, yawn, suck their thumbs and even show signs of being right or left handed.
A handful of states already have dismemberment abortion bans. In 2017, however, another federal judge blocked the Texas law, claiming it is unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood is involved in the lawsuit; however, the state is appealing.
Kentucky is the ninth state to protect developing preborn children from such a heinous act. The others are Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas 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. Such instruments typically are used in dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures.
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.”