ACLU sues to block Kentucky’s ban on dismembering babies in abortion
FRANKFORT, Kentucky, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit attempting to block Kentucky’s newly-enacted ban on dismemberment abortions.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed HB 454 into law on Tuesday, at which point it took effect immediately. It passed the legislature last month by a 75-13 House vote and a 31-5 Senate vote.
The bill prohibits the use of the so-called “dilation and evacuation” (D&E) abortion procedure, common during the second trimester, which functions by tearing a preborn baby apart limb by limb.
“I’m talking about children and I’m talking about feelings and I’m talking about children can feel this,” Republican state Sen. Katrina Shealy said during the bill’s Senate debate. “If this was a bill about puppies, we would have people lined so far down that hall to save a dog that we couldn’t get them in the building.”
Despite supporters’ contention that the bill should be a bipartisan cause, opponents are going to court.
"We're suing Kentucky yet again — this time to stop state politicians from banning a safe abortion method," Talcott Camp, a deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said according to local CBS affiliate WFMY. "This law disregards a woman's health and decisions in favor of a narrow ideological agenda."
The left-wing legal organization filed the lawsuit with U.S. District Court of Western Kentucky, on behalf of two physicians at EMW Women's Surgical Center, the state’s sole abortion performer.
"Kentucky's elected representatives voted overwhelmingly this session to safeguard unborn children against the gruesome practice of live dismemberment abortion,” Bevin spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn said in response to what she called a “disturbing” lawsuit. "Few issues should be as commonsense as protecting the most vulnerable among us from the horrific act of being torn from limb to limb while still alive."
The ACLU claims the law would force abortion seekers to attempt more dangerous methods, but Kansans for Life executive director Kay Culp told LifeSiteNews last month that she suspects a less altruistic motivation for the abortion industry’s opposition.
“Dismemberment abortion facilitates fetal harvesting,” Culp said. “Clinicians experimenting on aborted baby parts don’t want their research tainted by drugs, and, they want fresh organs – packed for shipping within minutes of death.”
Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia currently have dismemberment abortion bans on the books as well, though every ban but Mississippi’s and West Virginia’s are currently facing legal battles.
Opponents also argue that the law has little hope of success in court. But the bill’s authors maintain that banning dismemberment abortions is perfectly consistent with current Supreme Court precedent. They note that in 2000’s Stenberg v. Carhart, the pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens admitted that partial-birth abortion and dismemberment abortion were “equally gruesome,” and that it was “simply irrational” to conclude that one was “more akin to infanticide than the other.”
Stenberg struck down the federal partial-birth abortion ban, but Gonzales v. Carhart ultimately upheld it in 2007.