Lawyers with the ACLU defended the so-called right to dismember a nearly fully formed unborn baby Monday in front of a federal judge.
The abortion advocacy group asked U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker to block an Indiana law that bans dismemberment abortions in the state, according to Indiana Public Media.
Barker seemed critical of the law. The AP reports she “balked” at the idea that abortionists would no longer be allowed to dismember second-trimester unborn babies and instead have to use alternative abortion methods.
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 health data indicates the method was used to kill 27 babies in 2017.
Here’s more from the report:
Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher started his arguments Monday with a description of how the dilation and evacuation procedure is performed on the fetus, but Barker quickly interrupted him.
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“Let’s talk about the lawsuit, not the politics,” the judge said.
Barker questioned Fisher on whether the law would force women to seek more dangerous, intrusive and expensive procedures, as the alternatives could include 2-3 day hospital stays.
Fisher maintained the state had a valid role in limiting types of abortion procedures, citing the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a federal law banning … partial-birth abortion.
The law passed in April, and the ACLU quickly responded with a lawsuit on behalf of Caitlin Bernard, one of two abortionists in Indiana who perform dismemberment abortions.
On Monday, Bernard accused state lawmakers of caring more about politics than women’s heath, according to the local news.
“Using that type of language makes people feel uncomfortable about something that is in fact a medical procedure,” Bernard said. “And therefore, people feel more comfortable in legislating against it the more uncomfortable they feel with it.”
The judge is expected to issue a ruling before July 1, when the law is slated to go into effect.
Lawyers with the ACLU said the law 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, previously. “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.”
However, pro-life lawmakers said dismemberment abortions are horrific and inhumane, similar to partial-birth abortions.
State Sen. Liz Brown, the Senate sponsor of the bill, 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.”
“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.
Several other states also have 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.”