The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton, has reversed a lower court and upheld a Texas pro-life law banning dismemberment abortions that tear babies limb from limb. The court voted 9-5 for the pro-life law.
Texas Senate Bill 8 prohibits dismemberment abortions, a method typically used in the second trimester to kill nearly fully-formed, living unborn babies. It is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn baby is ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces while his or her heart is still beating.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked enforcement of the law last year. But Texas sought, and was granted a re-hearing by the full court. Jennifer Walker Elrod and Don Willett issued the majority opinion and concurring in the result were judges Priscilla Owen, Edith Jones, Jerry Smith, Catharina Haynes, James Ho, Kurt Engelhardt and Cory Wilson.
“Texans celebrate today’s long-awaited victory,” said Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz. “Anyone can see the cruelty of dismemberment abortions, ripping a child’s body apart while her heart is still beating. We’re grateful the judges recognized this horror.”
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Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves told LifeNews.com that she was delighted by the decision.
“Texas has the right to respect the life of unborn children, and it did so when it chose to strictly limit the gruesome procedure of dismemberment abortions,” she said.
Graves added: “The 5th Circuit was on solid ground to reverse the lower court’s decision striking down the law, finding that ‘the district court committed numerous, reversible legal and factual errors.’ What the Texas law, SB 8, forbids is causing an unborn child’s death by ‘corporal dismemberment,’ in which the child dies ‘by bleeding to death as his or her body is torn apart.’ SB 8 prohibits the use of this grisly and unnecessary method before the death of the unborn child.”
“The law is both humane and constitutional. As the 5th Circuit rightly found, the abortionists who filed this lawsuit ‘have utterly failed to carry their heavy burden of showing that SB8 imposes an undue burden on a large fraction of women in the relevant circumstances,” the pro-life attorney concluded.
Texas Right to Life also told LifeNews.com it was elated with the ruling.
If the abortion industry appeals today’s decision, the Supreme Court must answer the case’s dynamic legal question: “Is a dismemberment abortion inhumane enough to warrant legal prohibition?”
The obvious answer to this targeted question directly undermines some of the Supreme Court’s previous assertions in abortion cases, such as the misconception that abortions before a baby can survive outside the womb are more ethical than those that occur after.
Texas must continue pushing for strong Pro-Life laws—both in the Legislature and through the courts—that directly challenge the faulty foundation upon which Roe v. Wade was decided.
State Sen. Charles Schwertner, who wrote the bill, said the legislation will “ensure the dignity and protection for the unborn child” in Texas.
The bill also would ensure that the bodies of unborn babies who are aborted are treated with dignity by requiring that they be cremated or buried.
The dismemberment abortion ban embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would prohibit “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces. Such instruments typically are used in dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures.
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