Federal court strikes down Alabama ban on dismemberment abortions
ATLANTA, August 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday struck down Alabama’s 2016 ban on the dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion procedure, more commonly known as dismemberment abortion, AL.com reported.
Pro-lifers gave D&E abortions, which are the most common abortion method during the second trimester, the “dismemberment” label because they function by tearing a preborn baby apart limb by limb.
Upholding a decision issued last year by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, the 11th Circuit 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,” controlling Supreme Court precedent dictates that “the State of Alabama cannot forbid this method of abortion entirely.
"In our judicial system, there is only one Supreme Court, and we are not it,” the judges declared. “As one of the 'inferior Courts,' we follow its decisions (...) Our role is to apply the law the Supreme Court has laid down to the facts the district court found."
"I am disappointed that the 11th Circuit sided with the lower court in this case, but it is encouraging that the court recognized the State's important and legitimate interests in ending barbaric abortion procedures — in this case, procedures that literally tear apart babies living inside their mothers' wombs," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall responded in a statement. "I also appreciate Judge Dubina's separate opinion that the United States Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence 'has no basis in the Constitution.'”
In his opinion, Judge Joel Dubina stressed that while he was “bound by my oath to follow all of the Supreme Court’s precedents, whether I agree with them or not,” he wanted to “agree on record with Justice (Clarence) Thomas’ concurring opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart” that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrongly decided.
“Alabama’s law is a common-sense solution to a barbaric and gruesome procedure,” Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said in a press release. “If the vilest criminal has human dignity that prevents cruel and unusual punishment, then how much more should laws protect an innocent unborn child from the most despicable form of torture and death?
“We must make the womb a safe place again,” Staver declared. “This case or one like it cries out to the Supreme Court Justices to reverse the horrible abortion decisions.”
The abortion industry claims that D&E abortions are the safest procedure available for most second-trimester pregnancies, and banning it only forces women to resort to more dangerous methods. Pro-lifers suggest that abortionist prefer dismemberment abortions because they can fit more into their schedule (and by extension make more money), and make it easier to acquire fetal parts to sell.
Pro-abortion advocates also take umbrage at the grisly “dismemberment” label, but the National Abortion Federation’s own instructional materials describe “grasping a fetal part,” then “withdraw(ing) the forceps while gently rotating it,” for the purpose of achieving “separation.”
Additionally, notorious late-term abortionist Warren Hern has admitted “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.”
As for the legal question, pro-lifers argue that banning dismemberment abortions is consistent with current Supreme Court precedent. 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 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 upheld it in 2007.
Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia currently have dismemberment abortion bans on the books as well, though most are currently facing legal battles. The left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which fought the law, says no federal appeals court to date has ruled on the constitutionality of dismemberment abortions.
As for the state’s next move, Attorney General Marshall said his legal team was “carefully considering whether we will petition the Supreme Court for review of this case,” and they “expect to reach a decision soon."