Initial testimony in Missouri on bill to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions

By Dave Andrusko

Stop-Dismemberment55reOn Tuesday Missouri became the latest state to debate banning a particularly hideous abortion technique when a House committee heard testimony about the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act (HB 1714). Included was testimony from Missouri Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate.

In a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist repeatedly reaches into the mother’s womb and using a variety of sharp-edged metal clamps and tools yanks off parts of the child, pulling them out, piece by piece.

Such bills are the law in Kansas and Oklahoma, although pro-abortion lawyers have been able, for now, to prevent the laws from going into effect. The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act been introduced in West Virginia and we expect more to follow.

Pro-abortionists, represented by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, typically insist this is the safest and most common abortion technique in the second trimester and that to ban them would constitute an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion.

But the Supreme Court has already upheld a ban on a particular abortion technique–partial-birth abortions–ruling in Gonzales that abortionists do not have any right to demand certain procedures: “Physicians are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures. The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice.”

The abortionists’ argument that the ban restricts a “common” method is actually a plea that they be allowed to keep methods that are more expeditious and profitable for them.

Below are excerpts from Missouri Right to Life’s testimony in support of (HB 1714):

The focus of this bill is the small, living, human unborn child facing a brutal and inhumane dismemberment abortion. …

In a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist uses “clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments,“ to repeatedly enter the mother’s womb and tear off and remove parts of a living unborn child’s body, piece by piece, including crushing and extracting the skull.

In Stenberg v. Carhart [2000] , 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.” Defendant Carhart [a prominent late-term abortionist] admitted, “I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see the fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.”

The contemplation of just one such act of dismembering a living human being is breath-taking, especially in a society that criminalizes cruelty to animals.

The United States Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart [2007] described dismemberment abortions as a procedure that is “laden with the power to devalue human life,” and abortion supporter, Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg [who voted against upholding the ban] pointed out, “the standard D&E is in some respects as brutal, if not more,” than the partial-birth abortion method.

The Court in Gonzales said, “the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.”

Gonzales upheld the ban on partial-birth abortions citing the findings of Congress that “not to prohibit it will further coarsen society to the humanity of not only newborns, but all vulnerable and innocent human life, making it increasingly difficult to protect such life.”

In essence, the Supreme Court ruled that a method of abortion could be banned if other methods were available. Other abortion methods are available for second-trimester abortions.

Abortion by dismemberment is currently the dominant method for second-trimester abortion in Missouri, but perhaps that is because it offers, “more predictable timing” and “greater cost savings” according to the 2009 National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook’s chapter on D&E. …

We are not suggesting that some methods of abortion are morally acceptable. We are asking for accountability and action be taken in Missouri where the dehumanizing, and excruciatingly painful, method of killing unborn children through D&E abortions is a daily activity.

Missouri Right to Life is recommending that Missouri follow the signals given by the Gonzales Court and apply the rationale they used in their discussion of “devaluing human life” by enacting HB 1714.