By Jennifer Popik, Director of Federal Legislation
The National Right to Life Committee today commends Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) for her leadership in introducing the Save Our Children Act to ban dismemberment abortions.
“We thank Congresswoman Lesko for her advocacy in advancing this dismemberment abortion ban,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “We believe this law has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States,” she added. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after this living baby has reached these developmental milestones.”
This vital pro-life legislation would prohibit the performance of dismemberment abortion The Save Our Children Act is based on a model state bill proposed by National Right to Life, which has been enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia. More states are expected to consider this high priority legislation in 2019.
The Save Our Children Act defines “dismemberment abortion” as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off . . .”
This definition largely overlaps with what those in the abortion trade currently refer to as “dilation and evacuation” or “dilation and extraction” (D&E) abortions. The method is commonly used starting at about 14 weeks of pregnancy and extending into the third trimester.
The Save Our Children Act allows performance of a dismemberment abortion if necessary to save a mother’s life. The bill also says that it does not limit abortions performed in cases of rape or incest, if performed by a method other than dismemberment abortion.
A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here.
In his dissent in the 2000 case of Stenberg v. Carhart, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote regarding D&E abortion: “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.”