Federal judge temporarily blocks Ohio ban on dismemberment abortions
March 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge issued a ruling Thursday that delays the enforcement of Ohio’s new ban on dismemberment abortions for two weeks.
Ohio Attorney General David Yost's office confirmed to the Associated Press he intends to “vigorously defend" the state’s ban.
In December, former Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a law banning dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, also called dismemberment abortions because they function by tearing a preborn baby apart limb by limb (as confirmed by the National Abortion Federation’s own instructional materials, despite abortion defenders’ complaints about the name).
Last month, Planned Parenthood’s Ohio affiliates filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio arguing that the “burdensome, medically unnecessary restriction” would deprive the state of its only option for outpatient abortion methods in the second trimester and force abortionists to employ riskier, more expensive procedures.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Barrett (an appointee of former President George W. Bush) issued a 14-day temporary restraining order late Thursday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He did not offer a verdict on the law’s constitutionality, but said the factual and legal concerns raised by Planned Parenthood deserve further consideration.
Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region CEO Kersha Deibel said her group was “pleased that the court has, for now, protected most people's access to abortion and will take a deeper look into this blatant attempt to deprive patients of access to abortion and health care providers from making medical decisions that are best for their patients.”
Ohio Right to Life responded to the news by releasing a statement in which president Mike Gonidakis expressed the group’s frustration that the order thwarts the will of the “large consensus” that passed the measure.
“The gruesome nature of dismemberment abortions can't be denied...We don't stand for that sort of treatment of any other living creature, and we won't stand for it when it’s being done to the most vulnerable among us,” he added.
The Enquirer also quotes Gonidakis as pointing out that Barrett “was just soundly rejected last week by the Sixth Circuit” on Ohio’s ability to defund Planned Parenthood. "I am confident his actions today will be rejected yet again."
While abortion advocates commonly defend dismemberment abortions by claiming they’re the safest second-trimester procedure (for the mother), pro-lifers contend that abortionists actually prefer D&E procedures because they can fit more into their schedule (thereby making more money), and because they make it easier to obtain fetal organs to sell.
The fate of dismemberment abortion bans across the nation could be decided if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to a request by 21 states to review Alabama’s 2016 ban on the procedure.
“By limiting use of particularly ‘brutal’ abortion procedures, id. at 160, States further respect for life, both in society at large and in the medical profession in particular,” their pro-life brief argues, citing the Supreme Court’s Gonzales v. Carhart ruling that upheld the federal partial-birth abortion ban. “They also protect women from the deep grief many of them are likely to feel if and when they later discover exactly how their unborn children were killed, id. at 159, while encouraging the medical profession to ‘find different and less shocking methods to abort the fetus.’”