National Right to Life confident Texas law prohibiting dismemberment abortions will be upheld in Fifth Circuit

WASHINGTON – In a Thanksgiving-eve decision federal district Judge Lee Yeakel struck down part of bill passed earlier this year by the Texas legislature that would have prohibited gruesome dismemberment abortions in the Lonestar State. A temporary restraining order preventing the law from taking effect, put in place by Judge Yeakel in August, was set to expire this evening. The case is Whole Women’s Health v. Paxton.

“The Texas legislature overwhelmingly voted to protect pregnant mothers and their unborn children from being subject to such a dehumanizing experience,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Releasing the decision on the eve of a national holiday in the hopes that no one will notice is an act of cowardice. Rest assured, the right-to-life movement takes notice. We are confident that the Texas attorney general will appeal Judge Yeakel’s cruel decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and it will be overturned.”

Earlier this year, Texas became the eighth state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tear living unborn children apart limb from limb. Arkansas also enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act in 2017. Texas and Arkansas joined Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

For the current status of these laws please visit: www.nrlc.org/uploads/stateleg/StateLawsDismembermentAbortionBans.pdf.

The law is based on model legislation from National Right to Life and is one the organization’s top legislative priorities.

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…”

A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here:www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/deabortiongraphic/.

Background materials on the bill are available on the National Right to Life website: www.nrlc.org/statelegislation/dismemberment/.