Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Saturday signed into law a ban on “dismemberment abortion,” a second trimester procedure that involves tearing the unborn baby apart limb by limb until the womb is empty.
The bill, LB 814, passed the unicameral legislature by a bipartisan vote of 33-8, although seven senators – all Democrats – were present but did not vote.
The new law prohibits all dismemberment abortions except in the case of a medical emergency. Medical doctors call it a dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion.
The doctor – and not the pregnant woman – would be charged with the crime under the text of the law.
A dismemberment abortion requires the dilation of the cervix and the removal of the unborn baby limb by limb – a hand, an arm, a foot, a leg, and so forth. It was described in excruciating detail in the movie Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.
State Sen. Suzanne Geist introduced the bill.
“Nebraska is a pro-life state, and this week the Legislature took an important step to strengthen our culture of life,” Ricketts said. “Senator Geist’s bill bans the horrific procedure of dismemberment abortion, which tears apart a living baby’s body limb by limb. This brutal procedure has no place in a humane, civilized society. I commend Sen. Geist, and the bill’s supporters in the Unicameral, for outlawing this barbaric practice in Nebraska.”
Geist called it a “significant step forward for the pro-life movement.”
The new law defines dismemberment abortion as an abortion in which a person “purposely dismembers the body of a living unborn child and extracts him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through 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 to cut or rip it off.”
It typically is used in the second trimester of a pregnancy.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Motortion
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.