February 06, 2019
If anything good has come of New York celebrating late-term abortion like a ticker-tape parade, it's the number of states now moving to stop that extremism from coming to their hometowns. In places like Iowa, Delaware, Missouri, and New Jersey, legislators aren't taking the debate lying down. And in the case of Alabama's dismemberment abortion ban, that enthusiasm couldn't come at a better time.
Like a lot of states, Alabama went to the mat to stop one of the worst forms of second-trimester abortion: "dilation and evacuation," more commonly referred to as "dismemberment." After hard work by pro-lifers, a ban on the procedure went into effect in 2016 -- but only temporarily. Abortion activists, as they have in so many other places, took the state to court to stop it.
Just so everyone knows, a dismemberment abortion is like something out of a horror movie. It is, as John Daniel Davidson writes, "exactly what it sounds like: a doctor uses forceps to tear apart a live fetus, limb by limb, and remove it from the mother's uterus. This is usually done in the second trimester, when the fetus is too large to be suctioned out." And, from what scientists know now, at a time when most babies feel pain. About seven percent of Alabama abortions are done this way, which is why so many people rose up to say: enough!
Fortunately, those people don't just include the leaders of Alabama -- but leaders from states across the country. Now that Alabama's case has wound its way through the appeals process, the Supreme Court is the last and final stop. As of this week, the justices haven't decided whether to weigh in or not. In a new amicus brief, 21 states are joining forces to encourage the high court to take the case -- and, hopefully, create a pro-life precedent for other leaders to model.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has been thrilled with the amount of support the law is getting from his counterparts in other areas. "The support of these states underscores how significant the national interest is in resolving this issue," he said. "At least nine states have enacted similar laws, and litigation is pending in the Fifth Circuit, the Eighth Circuit, and multiple state courts." As far as he's concerned, "There is no 'meaningful difference' between death-by-dismemberment abortion in the womb and partial birth abortion outside it," his own brief pointed out. It's time, he and the others argued, for the Supreme Court to resolve the inconsistences in how the two are treated.
In the meantime, the case may be doing pro-lifers a favor, since it shows just how extreme our abortion laws already are without radical expansions like New York's. Even second-trimester abortions are brutal and excruciating procedures that no civilized country should condone. Let's hope that Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia and are helping the Supreme Court come to that same conclusion.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.