Oklahoma Supreme Court Blocks Ban on Dismemberment Abortions Tearing Babies Limb From Limb

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 5, 2019   |   2:37PM   |   Oklahoma City, OK

The Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked a state law Monday that protects unborn babies from cruel dismemberment abortions.

The ruling reverses a state judge’s decision denying a temporary injunction against the law, the AP reports. The Tulsa Women’s Clinic abortion facility and the Center for Reproductive Rights are suing to overturn the pro-life law.

The Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act bans dismemberment abortions that tear nearly fully formed unborn babies limb from limb while their hearts are still beating. The method is a common second-trimester abortion procedure. Abortion practitioners who violate the law could face up to two years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine.

Approximately 350 unborn babies were aborted in this way in 2018 in Oklahoma, according to the report.

Courthouse News reports the state Supreme Court ruled 6-2 against the enforcement of the law, despite Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s arguments against such cruelty.

Hunter said the abortion procedure subjects “unborn children to more cruelty than we allow for death row inmates.”

The injunction, which blocks the state from enforcing the law, will remain in place until the courts make a final ruling about the constitutionality of the law.

Hunter’s office urged the state court to deny the injunction. His office argued that the court should allow the state “to begin treating the unborn with at least the same dignity as death row inmates and animals.”

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As the Daily Oklahoman reported in October, the attorney general said Oklahoma has “important interests in prohibiting cruel and inhumane practices, in promoting ethical behavior in the medical profession, and in advancing the cause of a humane society.

“But the harm to the State pales in comparison with that faced by the unborn. The past four years, hundreds, if not thousands, of unborn Oklahomans have been torn apart while alive because of the ongoing injunction. If this law is (again) enjoined, that tragedy will continue,” Hunter’s office continued.

The National Right to Life Committee describes a dismemberment abortion this way:

Dismemberment abortion is a brutal type of abortion with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, purposely to dismember a living unborn child and extract him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, and /or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off. The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act protects unborn children from the brutality of being torn apart limb by limb by dismemberment.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the law in 2015, but pro-abortion groups immediately challenged it in court. In July, Judge Cindy Truong became the first judge in the country to uphold a dismemberment abortion ban.

Oklahoma was the second state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tear them apart limb from limb. Kansas became the first in 2015 when Gov. Sam Brownback signed similar legislation prohibiting dismemberment abortions in his state.

Since then, 12 states have passed similar legislation. Most of the laws are being blocked in court.

National Right to Life Committee, which wrote the model legislation, points to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the partial-birth abortion case as grounds for banning dismemberment abortions.

In his dissent to the Stenberg v. Carhart decision, former Justice Anthony Kennedy observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions: “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.” Kennedy added in the court’s 2007 opinion, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”