The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear another abortion case Friday out of Alabama in a devastating defeat for pro-life advocates and the unborn babies they hope to protect.
The Alabama law bans brutal dismemberment abortions that tear nearly fully formed babies limb from limb while their hearts are still beating. Alabama lawmakers enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act in 2016, but two abortion businesses and the ACLU sued to stop it.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the law in 2018, and, on Friday, the high court refused to hear an appeal of that decision, according to Politico.
Justice Clarence Thomas, the strongest pro-life advocate on the high court, concurred with the decision, but he also argued that the justices should not keep refusing to hear abortion cases, according to ABC News.
“This case serves as a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control,” he wrote in an opinion.
“… we cannot continue blinking the reality of what this court has wrought,” Thomas continued, noting that the Alabama law would ban the “dismemberment of a living child.”
The 11th Circuit, which ruled against the law in 2018, suggested it may have upheld the law if it was not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court precedent under Roe v. Wade.
Abortion providers had challenged the 2016 law in court and U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson found that it would amount to a virtual ban on abortion in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Thompson’s ruling blocking the law, but two of the three judges on the panel said they voted to affirm only because they are bound by past Supreme Court decisions in support of abortion rights.
Chief Judge Ed Carnes wrote that “dismemberment” is an accurate description for the procedure but ruled against the state. “In our judicial system, there is only one Supreme Court, and we are not it,” he wrote.
The decision whether to allow protections for unborn babies rests with the U.S. Supreme Court, and Justice Thomas, at least, wants to see the court revisit the issue. He issued a similarly strong opinion when the high court rejected an Indiana case in May. The case involved a law to protect unborn babies from discriminatory, eugenic abortions based on their sex, race or a disability.
Abortion activists noted that the Supreme Court will have plenty more chances to consider the issue in the months to come.
“While we are pleased to see the end of this particular case, we know that it is nowhere near the end of efforts to undermine access to abortion,” said ACLU attorney Andrew Beck in a statement. “Politicians are lining up to do just what Alabama did — ask the courts to review laws that push abortion out of reach and harm women’s health, with the hope of the getting the Supreme Court to undermine, or even overturn, a woman’s right to abortion.”
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Planned Parenthood celebrated the ruling Friday, calling it a “win for abortion access.”
“Today, the Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling that blocked a harmful Alabama abortion restriction. This decision effectively protects Alabamians from this dangerous law and keeps it from taking effect — a WIN for abortion access!” the billion-dollar abortion group wrote on Twitter.
The Susan B. Anthony List criticized the high court for doing nothing while thousands of unborn babies are killed every day by the abortion industry.
“Unborn children and mothers will continue to be victimized by the abortion industry while the Court does nothing,” the pro-life group responded in a statement. “Justice Thomas is absolutely right when he says: ‘This case serves as a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control… we cannot continue blinking the reality of what this Court has wrought.’”
A dismemberment abortion is performed on a nearly fully-formed, living unborn baby in the second trimester. 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/her heart is still beating.
“Alabama children should be protected by law from being torn limb from limb,” said Bill Klein, president of Alabama Citizens For Life, previously. “No human should die this way in a civilized society. It shows a total disrespect for the sanctity of human life.”
Earlier this year, 21 states joined Alabama in urging the high court to uphold the law and end the violence against unborn babies.
The dismemberment abortion ban has the potential to save hundreds of unborn babies in Alabama. In 2014, there were 594 abortions that occurred in the second trimester or later, the Montgomery Advertiser reported previously.
The dismemberment law embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would ban “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces.
Twelve states have passed dismemberment abortion bans to protect unborn babies, but most are being challenged in court.