Kentucky law banning gruesome dismemberment abortions can’t be enforced, court reaffirms
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June 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Kentucky cannot enforce its 2018 law banning a second-trimester abortion procedure infamous for dismembering babies in the womb, upholding a ruling by a U.S. district judge last year.
In 2018, former Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed HB 454 into law, which bans the dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion procedure. D&Es are more commonly known as “dismemberment abortions” because they function by tearing a preborn baby apart limb by limb. The left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) quickly sued, and U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley sided with them last May.
McKinley, a Bill Clinton appointee, based his ruling on the fact that the ban limits abortion options starting at around 14 weeks, which is well before the U.S. Supreme Court’s “viability” threshold, despite the fact that it still allows second-trimester abortions via other methods. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed this week that HB 454 “imposes an undue burden” on “all of the individuals it restricts,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
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. “Dismemberment abortion facilitates fetal harvesting,” Kansans for Life executive director Kay Culp told LifeSiteNews last year. “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.”
As to the merits of the rulings against the law, supporters note that in 2000’s Stenberg v. Carhart, the 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.
“We’re disappointed with the court’s ruling and will take any steps necessary to continue defending the law, which protects the unborn from a gruesome procedure,” Kentucky’s Republican, pro-life Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in response to the Sixth Circuit’s decision.