Judge’s ruling overturning ban on dismemberment abortion is steeped in dehumanizing euphemisms

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. My family and I will be on vacation through August 25. 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 ten months.

Sometimes the real underpinnings of a judicial ruling–even one that runs a hefty 140 pages–can be captured in a paragraph.

You’ll recall that early last week, NRL News Today posted a story that contained good news and bad from Arkansas.

The upside was that the previous Friday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a preliminary injunction issued in 2015 by activist Federal Judge Kristin Baker. Baker’s ruling prevented Arkansas from enforcing its law requiring abortion clinics proving chemical abortifacients to maintain a contract with another physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications.

The downside was that this same federal judge, just a few hours later, took a judicial scythe to four other pro-life Arkansas laws. The most prominent is Arkansas’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act which bans the grotesque practice of dismembering living unborn babies.

You might remember how even a vociferous pro-abortion advocate almost gulped at its sheer barbarism. Prof. Sherry F. Colb wrote

The method of abortion at issue in the Texas statute is not for the faint of heart. It involves dismembering the fetus while it is still in the woman’s womb and removing its parts, piece by piece, through the birth canal. One Texas legislator described the procedure as drawing and quartering, an old (and torturous) method of execution. ….

The notion, accepted by the Court, that D&X [partial-birth abortion] is uniquely barbaric was questionable, to be sure. It is not obvious that dismembering a fetus after removal from the womb is more barbaric or terrible than dis-membering it inside the womb and then removing its parts. Both methods are stomach turning and would likely upset people learning that they had undergone either one.

So how did Judge Baker describe dismemberment abortions? Did any of the horror seep through?

Here is “Finding of Fact” #36, found on page 8 reads as follows (internal quotes and citations are excluded for clarity):

As for the second method used beginning at approximately 14 weeks LMP [Last Menstrual Period], because suction instruments alone are generally no longer sufficient to empty the uterus, doctors can use a method with instrumentation called standard D&E. This involves two steps: dilating the cervix, and then evacuating the uterus with instruments such as forceps. There are several ways to dilate the cervix. Typically, during the early weeks of the second trimester of pregnancy, a doctor performing standard D&E uses a combination of medications that open the cervix and manual dilators; then, the same day, the doctor uses forceps to remove the fetus and other contents of the uterus. Because the fetus is larger than the opening of the cervix, the fetal tissue generally comes apart as the physician removes it through the cervix. The reason that the cervical opening is smaller than the fetal parts is that, in general, the doctor dilates only enough to allow the safe passage of instruments and fetal tissue through the cervix.

Let’s go through that antiseptic description:

  • “Empty the uterus”/”evacuating the uterus” means, of course, killing the baby and removing her corpse.
  • “Because the fetus is larger than the opening of the cervix” signals that we are talking about well-developed babies.
  • “the fetal tissue generally comes apart as the physician removes it through the cervix.” “Fetal tissue” includes arms and legs and a head and feet which “comes apart” because the abortionist hasn’t torn it off the baby’s torso or because the baby’s flesh is still attached.
  • “The reason that the cervical opening is smaller than the fetal parts is that, in general, the doctor dilates only enough to allow the safe passage of instruments and fetal tissue through the cervix.” And what if the cervix were dilated further? Who knows how much of the baby’s intact body might slide right out.

When you can distance yourself this far from what actually takes place in a dismemberment abortion to a living unborn baby, then, and only then, can you write something as cold-blooded as Judge Baker’s decision.