WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) heralded today’s introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation to nationally ban dismemberment abortion, an abortion method that involves using steel tools to tear apart a well-developed unborn child by brute force.
The Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 3515) was introduced in the House by Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a veteran legislator who is co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, with Vicki Hartzler (R-Mo.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Trent Franks (R-Az.) as original cosponsors.
The legislation is based on a model state bill proposed by National Right to Life, which has already been enacted this year in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off . . .”
This definition largely overlaps with what those in the abortion trade currently refer to as “dilation and evacuation” or “dilation and extraction” (D&E) abortions. The method is commonly used starting at about 14 weeks of pregnancy, and extending into the third trimester.
In his dissent in the 2000 case of Stenberg v. Carhart, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote regarding D&E abortion: “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.”
The bill explicitly permits a dismemberment abortion if necessary to save a mother’s life. The bill also says that it does not limit abortions performed in cases of rape or incest, if performed by a method other than dismemberment abortion.
“No unborn child should be subjected to the brutality of having her arms and legs torn off with steel tools that grasp, tear, and crush,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.
A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here.
The testimony of Anthony Levatino, M.D., before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in May 2013, vividly describing the dismemberment abortions that he once performed in great numbers, is available in printed form here and in video here.