A federal appeals court has upheld a 2017 Texas law that bans a grisly second-trimester abortion procedure in which the living, unborn baby is ripped apart limb by limb using forceps and then yanked out of the mother’s womb.
Six abortion clinics and five physicians who provide abortions argued that the live fetal dismemberment procedure was fine because fetuses don’t feel pain and because a woman’s right to abortion is “absolute.”
In a ruling last week smacking down the plaintiffs’ arguments, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argued that an abortion that involves “live dismemberment-by-forceps” is barbaric and that a law against it does not impose an undue burden on women seeking abortions because there are other safe alternatives available.
Nine of the 14 appellate judges who heard the case ruled in favor of Paxton.
At issue is the Texas law known as SB8 (Senate Bill 8).
Former President Donald Trump appointed five judges to the 5th Circuit. Of those five appointees, four ruled in favor of the Texas law banning the gruesome procedure; the fifth was recused.
One of the Trump appointees, Judge Don Willett, and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, a George W. Bush appointee, authored the majority opinion, according to The Associated Press.
In a concurring opinion, Judge James Ho, another Trump appointee, wrote that since death sentences for convicted murderers are administered with as little pain as possible, it makes no sense to not extend this same courtesy to the most vulnerable among us.
“States have a profound interest in respecting unborn life … Surely that interest includes protecting the unborn from unnecessary pain and suffering,” he wrote.
“Indeed, if states must avoid unnecessary pain to convicted murderers on death row as a matter of constitutional mandate, then surely states may avoid unnecessary pain to innocent unborn babies as a matter of constitutional discretion. “
The ruling also pointed out that there is no scientific consensus about when the unborn can feel pain, so Planned Parenthood and other abortion peddlers should stop pushing this narrative to rationalize their support for murdering babies.
“The record of this case demonstrates that scientists disagree about what gestational phase an unborn child begins to feel pain,” Ho wrote.
“If society takes seriously its obligation to protect the most innocent among us from unnecessary pain, it’s hard to imagine a more important issue on which to defer to legislative judgments than the medical debate over an unborn child’s capacity to feel pain.”
Moreover, the majority ruling stated that the women undergoing live fetal dismemberments are not told what the gruesome procedure entails. The implication was that some women might not consent to that particular procedure if they knew its appalling details.
“Women who receive lived dismemberment D&Es [dilation and evacuation] are not being told what is going to happen to the fetus,” the ruling stated. “In this case, the plaintiffs’ consent forms do not explain in ‘clear and precise terms’ what a live-dismemberment abortion entails.
“For example, Plaintiff [Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center’s] form tells the patient that ‘the pregnancy tissue will be removed during the procedure’ and does not explain that the fetus’s body parts — arms, legs, ribs, skull, and everything else — will be ripped apart and pulled out piece by piece.”
The majority also noted that the plaintiffs misinterpreted the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion.
The ruling pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court justices in the Roe case specifically stated “[w]e do not agree” that “the woman’s right [to abortion] is absolute.”
The ruling underscored that “no constitutional rights, even those expressly enshrined in the Bill of Rights, are absolute,” especially when the courts are required to balance the rights of pregnant women against those of unborn children.
The abortion industry, of course, blasted the court ruling.
“This ban is about cutting off abortion access, and nothing else,” Amy Hagsgtrom, the president of Whole Woman’s Health, stated in a news release distributed by Planned Parenthood.
“In no other area of medicine would politicians consider preventing doctors from using a standard procedure.”
Whole Women’s Health was a plaintiff in the case.
Pro-life groups, however, cheered the decision.
“Texans celebrate today’s long-awaited victory,” Kimberlyn Schwartz, communications director for Texas Right to Life, declared a statement.
“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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