Legislation to ban dismemberment abortions in Michigan is now on the Michigan House floor.
House Bills 4320 and 4321 would amend Michigan’s 2011 ban on partial-birth abortions by including the dismemberment abortion procedure, also known as a dilation and evacuation abortion (D&E).
The bills were reported favorably Tuesday by the Michigan House Judiciary Committee with a 7 to 5 vote. The bills were reported favorably by the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee with a 5 to 4 vote on May 1. Identical bills are being considered by the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Dismemberment abortion involves tearing the arms and legs off of human beings,” Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said. “We must end this barbaric procedure in Michigan.”
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy accurately described dismemberment abortions in his opinions in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on partial-birth abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) and Stenberg v. Carhart (2000).
In Gonzales, Justice Kennedy wrote, “The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman.”
In Stenberg, Justice Kennedy wrote, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from 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.”
Listing said, “Abortion supporters are uncomfortable with accurately describing this procedure, because the inhumanity of it is obvious to everyone.”
The dismemberment abortion procedure is the most frequently-used late-term abortion procedure. In 2017, there were 1,777 dismemberment abortions in Michigan reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Of those, 98 percent occurred in the second trimester, between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The dismemberment ban bills include an exception if the mother’s life is in danger. However, in published research on reasons women have abortions, the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute has stated that most late-term abortions are done for elective reasons.
In a 2013 Guttmacher Institute study, the authors admitted, “But data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”