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ACLU sues to block Indiana’s new dismemberment abortion ban

Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

INDIANAPOLIS, April 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On Thursday, after Indiana’s Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a law prohibiting dismemberment abortions, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court with the claim that it would place an “unwarranted burden” on women seeking “second-trimester, previability, abortions.”

Indiana House Enrolled Act 1211 allows for felony charges against abortionists who cut unborn babies with beating hearts into pieces using abortion dismemberment techniques. Such procedures are frequently performed during the second trimester of gestation, while babies are almost fully formed. After first dilating the mother’s cervix, the abortionist inserts steel instruments into the womb to dismember the baby and then pull out the baby’s parts.

Abortionists typically perform dismemberment abortions between 11 and 24 weeks of gestation. Unborn babies at 11 weeks have detectable heartbeats and brain activity. They respond to touch, show signs of being right- or left-handed, and suck their thumbs. Babies born at 24 weeks of gestational age have at least a 40-percent survival rate.

“Hoosiers spoke up in great numbers against the atrocity of dismemberment abortions this spring,” said Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, according to the group’s website. “Legislators listened, and thanks to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signature, children will be protected from barbaric dismemberment abortions in Indiana.”

A digest of the bill begins, “Abortion matters.” The description of HEA 1211 goes on to prohibit any person from “knowingly or intentionally” performing a dismemberment abortion unless “reasonable medical judgment dictates” that a dismemberment abortion is necessary to prevent health risks or the death of the mother. Moreover, it designates such an abortion as a Level 5 felony. In Indiana, those convicted of a Level 5 felony may be imprisoned for one to six years and receive a fine of as much as $10,000.

Precedent for the Indiana law is found in Gonzales v. Carhart, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 to uphold the federal partial-birth abortion ban while curtailing Roe v. Wade, which allowed abortion nationwide in 1973. Former justice Anthony Kennedy described dismemberment (D&E) abortion in the opinion: “friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus[.] ... No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”

The ACLU routinely sues to overturn pro-life laws around the country. In a statement, Ken Falk of Indiana ACLU said, “HEA 1211 will discourage women from obtaining abortions and will impose a substantial and unwarranted burden on women’s ability to obtain second-trimester, pre-viability, abortions.” Falk also claimed that physicians have an “ethical obligation” to refrain from using procedures that “provide no medical benefit.” He added, “This law would force doctors to do just that.”

The ACLU filed its case in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, nominated by Barack Obama, is the chief judge.

Pro-life legislators were jubilant about the signing of the bill. On April 3, when the state Senate voted to advance the bill to the governor, Sen. Liz Brown, a Republican of Fort Wayne who sponsored the bill, described dismemberment abortion as “particularly barbaric” because abortionists “reach into the woman’s uterus and snap off the limbs of the baby so those body parts can be easily removed.”

“It is constitutionally appropriate for Hoosiers to decide that it is not necessary to dismember a baby in order to preserve a woman’s constitutional right to privacy,” Brown said, according to the NWI Times.

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