A Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel struck down a Texas pro-life law Tuesday that potentially could protect thousands of second-trimester unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions.
The Huffington Post reports the federal court upheld a lower court ruling arguing that the 2017 law “unduly burdens a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to obtain a previability abortion.”
Texas Senate Bill 8 prohibits dismemberment abortions, a method typically used in the second trimester to kill nearly fully-formed 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. Abortion activists refer to the abortion method as dilation and evacuation, or D&E.
“After a three-year wait, the decision by the three-judge panel is disappointing and demonstrates the need for judges who follow the strictest interpretation of the Constitution,” Texas Right to Life said in a statement. “However, Texas must continue the legal battle to force a federal circuit court split, pressuring the Supreme Court of the United States to evaluate the merits of the law.”
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The pro-life organization expects Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will appeal to the full circuit court.
The law has never gone into effect due to the pro-abortion legal challenge. The Center for Reproductive Rights, Whole Woman’s Health and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in 2017 immediately after the state legislature passed the law.
In the ruling Tuesday, Judge James L. Dennis, who was appointed by pro-abortion President Bill Clinton, argued that the law “forces abortion providers to act contrary to their medical judgment and the best interest of their patient by conducting a medical procedure that delivers no benefit to the woman,” according to the Huffington Post.
However, Texas Right to Life said the judges did not answer a fundamental question about the case: “Is a dismemberment abortion inhumane enough to warrant legal prohibition?”
The pro-life group said the answer undermines past Supreme Court rulings on abortion, including
“the notion that pre-viability abortions are more ethical than those that occur after viability.” It expressed hope that the high court will hear the case and allow states to protect unborn babies from torturous dismemberment abortion deaths.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson tried to spin the matter by claiming the ban on dismembering unborn babies is “cruel.”
“Today’s ruling should send a clear message to Gov. [Greg] Abbott and [Attorney General Ken] Paxton that they will not be able to succeed in their cruel crusade to ban abortion. While we may have a victory today, the fight continues,” Johnson said in a statement.
To date, 13 states have passed laws to protect unborn babies from dismemberment abortions, according to the National Right to Life Committee. They are Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, North Dakota, Indiana and Nebraska.
Dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy observed that in 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 2007 opinion Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E (dismemberment) abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”
Texas leaders have said they are ready to defend the law – and unborn babies’ lives – all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Paxton said the law protects the sanctity and dignity of human life.