ACLU Sues to Keep Dismemberment Abortions Legal, 27 Indiana Babies Died Having Their Limbs Torn Off

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 25, 2019   |   6:59PM   |   Indianapolis, Indiana

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday to allow unborn babies to be killed in dismemberment abortions, just hours after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a law banning the barbaric practice.

The dismemberment abortion ban, Indiana House Bill 1211, allows abortionists to be charged with a felony if they abort an unborn baby by tearing the baby limb from limb while their heart is beating. These types of abortion procedures are common in the second trimester when unborn babies are nearly fully formed. Indiana government data indicates the method was used to kill 27 babies in 2017.

The AP reports the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit to block the ban Thursday, arguing that it puts an unconstitutional burden on women’s access to abortion.

“HEA 1211 will discourage women from obtaining abortions and will impose a substantial and unwarranted burden on women’s ability to obtain second-trimester, pre-viability, abortions,” said Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana. “In addition, doctors have an ethical obligation not to subject their patients to potentially harmful procedures that provide no medical benefit. This law would force doctors to do just that.”

The Indy Star noted that the pro-abortion legal group “routinely sues” to overturn pro-life laws in Indiana. Another recent ACLU lawsuit challenged a state law requiring that abortionists report complications to the state.

Pro-life lawmakers described dismemberment abortions as horrific and inhumane. State Sen. Liz Brown, the sponsor in the Senate, told her fellow lawmakers about the gruesome, “barbaric” way unborn babies often are aborted in the second trimester, The NWI Times reports. She said abortion doctors use a clamp “to reach into the woman’s uterus and snap off the limbs of the baby so those body parts can be easily removed.”

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“It is constitutionally appropriate for Hoosiers to decide that it is not necessary to dismember a baby in order to preserve a woman’s constitutional right to privacy,” Brown said, previously.

The state’s leading pro-life group praised the governor for signing the bill earlier Thursday.

“Hoosiers spoke up in great numbers against the atrocity of dismemberment abortions this spring,” said Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Legislators listened, and thanks to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signature, children will be protected from barbaric dismemberment abortions in Indiana. We thank our pro-life elected officials for their leadership.”

Several other states recently passed laws to protect unborn babies from being ripped apart in their mothers’ wombs. Alabama and Kentucky are fighting legal battles with the abortion industry to defend their laws.

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.

The Dismemberment Abortion Ban is built in part on the U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007), which upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban and scaled back the scope of Roe v. Wade. In its opinion, former Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on abortion, 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… No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”

Abortion activists with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists argue that D&E abortions are the safest abortion method in the second trimester.