In 21 days, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments, pro and con, about Mississippi’s abortion law, the Gestational Age Act. It’s noteworthy that, having read literally everything I could lay my hands on, I found few, if any, articles that tell us what the law is intended to stop, other than the pro-forma response that the law bans abortions (with rare exceptions) after the 15th week of gestation.
Read the law at issue in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and you’ll be appalled.
The majority of abortion procedures performed after fifteen (15) weeks’ gestation are dilation and evacuation procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child apart before removing the pieces of the dead child from the womb. The Legislature finds that the intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.
I took the time to read the law this morning. Notice how the language addresses the continuity of fetal development and how the unborn child possesses capacities very early in his or her development that the public still does not aware of:
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1. Between five (5) and six (6) weeks’ gestation, an unborn human being’s heart begins beating.
2. An unborn human being begins to move about in the womb at approximately eight (8) weeks’ gestation.
3. At nine (9) weeks’ gestation, all basic physiological functions are present. Teeth and eyes are present, as well as external genitalia.
4. An unborn human being’s vital organs begin to function at ten (10) weeks’ gestation. Hair, fingernails, and toenails also begin to form.
5. At eleven (11) weeks’ gestation, an unborn human being’s diaphragm is developing, and he or she may even hiccup. He or she is beginning to move about freely in the womb.
6. At twelve (12) weeks’ gestation, an unborn human being can open and close his or her fingers, start to make sucking motions, and senses stimulation from the world outside the womb. Importantly, he or she has taken on “the human form” in all relevant aspects (a quote from the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart decision).
Mississippi Attorney General, in her brilliant response brief, rebutted criticism of the law by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights. After a careful and thoughtful rejoinder, she called on the Court to return the abortion debate to the people:
Respondents proclaim that there “are no half-measures here.” It is true that the Judiciary cannot provide a workable half measure —it cannot produce an enduring compromise. But the people can. When this Court returns this issue to the people, the people can debate, adapt, and find workable solutions. It will be hard for the people too, but under the Constitution the task is theirs—and the Court should return it to them now.
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in at National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.