Alabama files petition urging Supreme Court to review, uphold dismemberment abortion ban
MONTGOMERY, Alabama, December 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed Thursday a 33-page petition asking that the United States Supreme Court review a lower court decision invalidating the state’s ban on the dismemberment abortion procedure commonly used in the second trimester.
In 2016, Alabama enacted a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, also called dismemberment abortions because they function by tearing a pre-born baby apart limb by limb (as acknowledged by the National Abortion Federation’s own instructional materials, despite abortion defenders’ complaints about the label).
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson blocked it the next year, and this August a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his decision. It ruled that while the state “has an actual and substantial interest in lessening, as much as it can, the gruesomeness and brutality of dismemberment abortions,” current Supreme Court precedent ultimately means that states “cannot forbid this method of abortion entirely.”
“The constitutionality of a state ban on dismemberment abortion is an important question of national significance,” Marshall argues in the brief, noting that at least nine states have enacted similar bans, some of which are working their way through other judicial circuits.
“Federal law constitutionally prohibits partial-birth abortions. And there is no ‘meaningful difference’ between death-by-dismemberment abortion in the womb and partial-birth abortion outside it,” he notes, alluding to an admission by pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens in 2000’s Stenberg v. Carhart. “As the court of appeals expressly recognized, only this Court can resolve the inconsistency in treatment between partial-birth and dismemberment abortion.”
“The state’s request that the high court take up the case is part of a long-standing strategy to ban abortion in Alabama,” ACLU of Alabama executive director Randall Marshall responded, according to AL.com. “The ACLU is committed to seeing this fight through to ensure that all women in Alabama can get the care they need without political interference, shame, or stigma.”
Dismemberment abortion’s defenders argue they’re the safest procedure for most second-trimester pregnancies, and banning it only drives women to riskier methods. Pro-lifers suggest that abortionists prefer D&E abortions because they can fit more into their schedule (thereby making more money), and make it easier to obtain fetal organs to sell.