By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. My family and I will be on vacation through September 6. I will occasionally add new items but for the most part we will repost “the best of the best” — the stories our readers have told us they especially liked over the last five months. This first ran June 29.
Consider the headlines: “Supreme Court Is Really Done With Anti-Abortion Laws For A While” and “Anti-abortion advocates continue push for restrictions.” If we read just those two interpretations of what will ensue in light of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, what might we conclude?
To be fair, the first headline, from Huffington Post, refers to laws that require abortionists to have admitting privileges, which were clobbered by the High Court on Monday. That may or may not be true going forward, but it is certainly a defensible conclusion–at least with the Supreme Court as presently constituted.
But take that idea in combination with the second conclusion from an Associated Press story–that pro-lifers are not and could not be dissuaded from passing protective laws–and what do you get? Something very, very different.
There are other pro-life laws already passed in a number of states which eventually will work their way through the legal pipeline until they reach the Supreme Court. In the AP story they were talking about a ban on dismemberment abortions (the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act) but could also have addressed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act is now on the books in six states– Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana The bill has also been introduced in Idaho, Missouri, and Nebraska, and is expected to be introduced in several other states.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is the law in 14 states– Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas [known as the Preborn Pain Act], West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Both laws are based on model legislation provided by National Right to Life. The latter protects unborn children who are capable of experiencing great pain when being killed by dismemberment or other late abortion methods. An unborn child is capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks after fertilization and likely earlier.
The former bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother’s womb is ripped apart into pieces by an abortionist using sharp metal tools. Proponents look to the dissent in Stenberg v. Carhart and the majority in Gonzales v. Carhart and conclude the law would pass constitutional muster.
In his dissent to the 2000 Stenberg 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 Gonzales opinion upholding the federal 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,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, director of NRLC’s Department of State Legislation. “When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.”
Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, an avid abortion supporter, made the comparison for us in her dissent in Gonzales. Both methods, she wrote, “could equally be characterized as ‘brutal,’ involving as it does ‘tear[ing] [a fetus] apart’ and ‘rip[ping] off’ its limbs.”
The simple truth is dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.
As we have shown in numerous posts since Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was decided against us 5-3, our Movement refuses to allow any ruling to be seen in any way other than what it is: a temporary setback on the road to a final victory which protects unborn children and their mothers.