A federal appeals court heard arguments this month on a Texas abortion law that outlaws a procedure in which a late-term unborn baby is torn apart, limb by limb, to prevent a live birth. The medical term for the procedure is “dilation and evacuation,” although it’s been dubbed “dismemberment abortion” by pro-life groups because it involves pulling out an arm, a leg, and so forth.
It was described, in detail, in the movie Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer.
A lower court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Texas law from going into effect. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Nov. 5.
Heather Gebelin Hacker, assistant solicitor general for Texas, called the procedure “barbaric” and said abortionists could use other methods instead.
“It’s illegal to kill an animal that way in Texas, we wouldn’t execute a murderer that way, and notably the abortion providers don’t tell women that that’s what the procedure entails,” Hacker told the judges, according to The Texas Tribune.
The suit was brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood, two groups that are seeking to overturn the 2017 law.
“Just the idea the state thinks that’s what’s within its power is contrary to the whole idea that women have a right to autonomy, dignity,” said Janet Crepps, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board criticized supporters of the law for “describing the procedure in ghoulish detail.” The board also argued that the unborn baby -- despite being in the second trimester -- does not feel pain. The procedure, the board said, is medically necessary.
Nicole Russell, a columnist for The Washington Examiner, expressed incredulity at the arguments by pro-choicers.
“The fact that there was not only an argument in a courtroom claiming that pulling limbs from a baby wasn’t actually dismemberment or inhumane but necessary and well within a woman’s rights, but that folks like those on the LA Times editorial board agreed, shows just how far abortion advocates are willing to go to protect abortion, one of the most sacrosanct ideas within the progressive party,” Russell wrote. “To them, Roe v. Wade is not merely a law, but it represents a lifestyle, a right, and a movement which defies science, dignity, and the rights of the least among us.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Artem Kovalev/Unsplash
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.