ACLU, state of Kentucky file briefs in lawsuit challenging law banning dismemberment abortions

By Dave Andrusko

Three weeks ago, NRL News Today reported that the state of Kentucky and the ACLU had agreed to a joint consent order the effect of which was that state officials agreed to take no action to enforce House Bill 454 pending a ruling on the ACLU’s request for a preliminary injunction. When Gov. Matt Bevin signed HB 454, Kentucky became the ninth state to ban the vicious and gruesome practice of dismemberment abortion.

A June 5 hearing is set before U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley Jr. Both sides are filing their briefs this week which led to several stories on Wednesday.

Reporting for Spectrum News, Michon Lindstrom wrote that the state of Kentucky’s brief

argues that if the bill does not go into effect, unborn children will continue to die in a gruesome way through a practice that “would be punishable as a crime were the subject an animal rather than an unborn human.” The brief goes on to say that HB 454 is in the best interest of the state because it protects the dignity of the unborn and ensures doctors’ ethics remain intact.

“This gruesome procedure, which rips apart a live, unborn child, is antithetical to everything that we stand for as a civilized society,” said Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin’s general counsel. “H.B. 454 recognizes the dignity of human life and provides an alternative method for performing dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions that does not subject the unborn to the torture and agony of being dismembered while alive.”

The ACLU countered, according to Bruce Schreiner of the Associated Press that HB454 would mean “extinguished access” for women seeking abortions in the second trimester.

The ACLU has called dismemberment abortions “safe and medically proven.”

In a dismemberment abortion, a living unborn baby is pulled out of her mother’s womb, a piece at a time. The abortionist uses clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, “through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, and /or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off.”

Darcy Costello of the Louisville Courier Journal reported previously that Elizabeth Kuhn, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bevin, said that the lawsuit was not surprising but was disturbing,

“Kentucky’s elected representatives voted overwhelmingly this session to safeguard unborn children against the gruesome practice of live dismemberment abortion,” Kuhn wrote in an email. “Few issues should be as commonsense as protecting the most vulnerable among us from the horrific act of being torn from limb to limb while still alive.”

Eight states had already passed bans on dismemberment abortions: Kansas (2015); Oklahoma (2015); West Virginia (2016); Mississippi (2016); Alabama (2016); Louisiana (2016); Arkansas (2017); and Texas (2017).