WASHINGTON – Earlier today, pro-life Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) signed into law the groundbreaking Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The bill passed the state House of Representatives, 74-26, last week, and the state Senate, 30-2, in April. The law, which will go into effect in August, will prohibit dismemberment abortions in Alabama.
“The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act is starting to transform the debate about abortion policy in the United States,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “We applaud the efforts of our affiliate, Alabama Citizens for Life, and the pro-life commitment of the Alabama legislature and Governor Bentley in seeing this groundbreaking bill become law.”
Alabama becomes the fifth state to enact the groundbreaking legislation based on National Right to Life’s model bill. West Virginia and Mississippi enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act earlier this year, with Kansas and Oklahoma passing the bill last year. The bill has also been introduced in Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nebraska, and is expected to be introduced in several other states.
“Governor Robert Bentley is to be commended for his action in signing into law the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which will prohibit this barbaric inhumanity in our state,” said Alabama Citizen for Life National Director Cheryl Ciamarra. “We appreciate the exceptional leadership of Senator Phil Williams and Representatives Mack Butler for spearheading the enactment of this landmark lifesaving legislation.”
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.”
Justice Kennedy added in the Court’s 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…”
“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”
A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here.
Background materials on the bill are available on the National Right to Life website. Included in the background materials is the testimony of Anthony Levatino, M.D., before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in May 2013, in which he described in great detail the D&E dismemberment abortions he once performed.