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October 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Texas law on Tuesday that would have banned the use of aptly-named “dismemberment abortion” procedures common in the second trimester.

Enacted in 2017 but never enforced due to legal battles, the law bans the dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion procedure, more commonly known as “dismemberment abortions,” because they tear a preborn baby apart limb by limb. The judges voted 2-1 against the law.

The ban “forces abortion providers to act contrary to their medical judgment and the best interest of their patient” by requiring them to instead use “dangerous” procedures that offer “no benefit to the woman, Judge James Dennis claimed in his majority opinion. Its “burdens substantially outweigh its benefits,” he claimed.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has not yet responded to the decision or announced its next move, but Texas Right to Life has declared that the ruling “demonstrates the need for judges who follow the strictest interpretation of the Constitution,” and that “Texas must continue the legal battle to force a federal circuit court split, pressuring the Supreme Court of the United States to evaluate the merits of the law.”

Pro-lifers note that in 2000’s Stenberg v. Carhart, pro-abortion Supreme Court 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.

Pro-abortion activists have objected to the “dismemberment” label as inflammatory and misleading, but the abortion industry itself has effectively admitted its accuracy. The National Abortion Federation’s own instructional materials describe “grasping a fetal part,” then “withdraw(ing) the forceps while gently rotating it” to achieve “separation,” and notorious late-term abortionist Warren Hern has written, “there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator (of D&E procedures). It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.”

Defenders also claim dismemberment abortions are the safest second-trimester procedure available (for the mother), but pro-lifers suspect abortionists actually prefer D&E abortions because they can fit more into their schedule, and therefore make more money.