Alabama Legislature Approves Groundbreaking Dismemberment Abortion Ban

Dismemberment-SquarereWASHINGTON – Alabama late yesterday took a big step closer to becoming the fifth state to ban dismemberment abortions, as the state House of Representatives approved the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act (SB 363), 74-26. The state Senate had already passed the bill last month, 30-2. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley (R), who is expected to sign the measure.

“When the national debate focuses only on the mother, it is forgetting someone,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Banning dismemberment abortion in Alabama has the potential to transform the debate when people realize that living unborn children are being killed by being torn limb from limb.”

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 it is expected it will also be introduced in several other states.

“We applaud Alabama Citizens for Life for their advocacy for this dismemberment abortion ban and we commend the Alabama legislature for standing up for unborn children by passing this landmark bill,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “This law has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States.”

Sponsored by Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) and carried in the House by State Rep. Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City)., the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act has been the top state legislative priority for National Right to Life and its affiliate, Alabama Citizens for Life.

Alabama Citizens for Life National Director Cheryl Ciamarra observed, “Today, the pro-life leadership in the Legislature and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of senators and delegates stood up on behalf of the unborn and voted to protect the most vulnerable lives. Thanks to their efforts, unborn children in Alabama will be protected from this barbaric procedure.”

D&E 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 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. 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 abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”

“When abortion textbooks describe in cold, explicit detail exactly how to kill a human being by ripping off arms and legs piece by piece, civilized members of society have no choice but to stand up and demand a change,” added Spaulding Balch. “When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.”

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.