The entire Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Texas’s Dismemberment Abortion Ban today. After a district judge and a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit blocked the Pro-Life policy, Texas appealed, urging the entire circuit court to consider the case.
Under the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, abortionists are prohibited from killing preborn children by tearing them apart limb from limb. Abortion advocates challenged the law soon after the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) in 2017.
A favorable ruling from the Fifth Circuit would finally permit Texas to enforce this life-saving law. Without the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, animals dissected in labs have more rights than preborn children.
Attorneys for the state asserted Texas’s strong state interest in protecting preborn children from such a barbaric and inhumane method of abortion. They argued that after four years, an extensive fact-finding process, and an exhaustive trial at the district court level, Texas now deserves an answer regarding whether they may enforce this Pro-Life protection. As the attorney for the state observed, “It’s illegal to kill an animal in Texas by ripping it limb from limb. SB 8 extends this same protection to pain-capable children on the cusp of viability.”
Conversely, attorneys for the abortion industry asserted that this extension of basic human decency to preborn children is a “medically unnecessary risk” and amounts to an unacceptable undue burden on the “constitutional right to abortion” without advancing a state interest in protecting preborn children. When pressed, the attorney for the abortion industry could not satisfactorily answer why the ban on tearing living preborn babies limb from limb would not further a substantial state interest in protecting Life.
Indeed, Judge Jennifer Elrod correctly observed that even frogs dissected in high school biology classrooms receive the basic protection of a humane death before dismemberment. As she pointed out, “It’s a matter of not taking living creatures and tearing them apart limb by limb. It’s sort of like drawing and quartering — we don’t do that anymore, do we?”
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The court adjourned today without issuing a ruling. If the Fifth Circuit rules in favor of Texas’s Dismemberment Abortion Ban, they will likely create a circuit split with two other United States appellate courts which have recently ruled against similar laws. Regardless, the Supreme Court of the United States is very likely to take up the case if the abortion industry appeals as expected.
Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz responded to today’s hearing:
Abortion was first legalized nationwide through a court case out of Texas: Roe v. Wade. Now, Texans are determined to defeat Roe through the courts. Bold legislation like the Dismemberment Abortion Ban is how we’ll save lives from abortion, change the culture to see the humanity of the preborn child, and compel the court to overturn Roe. The Texas Legislature in 2021 should pursue additional life-saving legislation like the Texas Abolition Strategy.
This important case has the potential to create life-saving Supreme Court precedent affecting not only Texas but the rest of the nation. Texas can lead the way in setting strong precedent that attacks the foundation of Roe v. Wade. Our preborn neighbors and their mothers deserve nothing less. Texans should urge their state lawmakers to support Pro-Life policies this session here.