Texas leaders fought Monday to be allowed to ban brutal dismemberment abortions that tear unborn babies limb from limb while their hearts are beating.
Arguing in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Heather Hacker, a lawyer for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said the state protects animals and convicted criminals more than unborn babies.
“A child born at 18 weeks would…still be swaddled and cared for, but at that same age, the child in the womb could have forceps used to rip that child from the womb piece by piece,” Hacker said. “In Texas, no animal is permitted to be killed this way, nor a convicted criminal on death row treated like this.”
Signed into law in 2017, 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.
The abortion chain Whole Women’s Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the law, and a judge struck it down in November. The state appealed to the Fifth Circuit.
On Monday, a panel of judges spent about an hour considering the arguments of the state and abortion activists, according to the Texas Tribune.
Here’s more from the report:
“It’s illegal to kill an animal that way in Texas, we wouldn’t execute a murderer that way, and notably the abortion providers don’t tell women that that’s what the procedure entails,” Hacker said.
She said that there were other methods doctors could use, including potassium chloride injections, which she said had not been cited as the cause of any abortion complications in Texas in the last five years and that abortion providers were already using on their own accord. Hacker also told the judges that the law would not affect access to abortion in the state.
But Janet Crepps, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued that the state’s proposed law was “invasive, medically unnecessary and poses a dangerous risk” to women. She said injections with potassium chloride using a three-to-four-inch spinal needle puts women at risks for infection and hospitalization.
“Just the idea the state thinks that’s what’s within its power is contrary to the whole idea that women have a right to autonomy, dignity,” Crepps said after the hearing.
Texas Right to Life, which attended the hearing, said the pro-abortion lawyers gave no consideration whatsoever to the unborn child.
The pro-life group wrote:
One related point that caught the appellate judges’ attention this morning was that the abortion industry and Judge [Lee] Yeakel neglected the strong and clear opinion of SCOTUS that states do have a compelling state interest in protecting innocent human Life. The plaintiffs framed the argument as if Texas has no right to pass legislation to stop such inhumane and gruesome practices as the preborn child is torn apart limb from limb while her heart is still beating.
Two of the three judges on the panel Monday were appointed by pro-abortion President Bill Clinton. However, hope is not lost.
“Texas Right to Life is hopeful that this case (or a similar one) will soon be presented before the Supreme Court of the United States,” the pro-life group said in a statement. “The Dismemberment Abortion Ban is a reasonable and basic protection from barbaric deaths for preborn children and could have far-reaching implications for the nation and the new Supreme Court.”
Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the law in 2017, claiming it imposed an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion. 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.
Texas leaders are ready to defend the law – and unborn babies’ lives – all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Attorney General Paxton previously said the law protects the sanctity and dignity of human life, and they will continue to defend it.
The law made Texas the eighth state to protect developing preborn children from such a heinous act. Others include Arkansas, 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. Such instruments typically are used in dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures.