Sixth Circuit Decision Allowing Dismemberment Abortion Was Wrong

National Right to Life Says 6th Circuit Decision Allowing Dismemberment Abortion Was Wrong

For immediate release: Friday, June 5, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C.— On Tuesday, a divided 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a permanent injunction granted in 2019 by U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley, who found Kentucky’s House Bill 454 unconstitutional on the grounds that the law would create a “substantial obstacle” to a woman’s right to an abortion.

House Bill 454 would have prevented living unborn babies from being torn apart limb by limb. Currently, 12 states have passed dismemberment laws. Of those, two are in effect and one is partially in effect.

“It was wrong for the 6th Circuit to allow these cruel dismemberment abortions to continue,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “A living baby is torn apart, limb from limb, while in her mother’s womb. It’s a horrific death for an unborn child.”

In a powerful 10-page dissent, Judge John Bush noted that evidence from the trial showed that, when asked, a majority of women prefer fetal demise before an abortion takes place. Judge Bush then makes it clear why:

The reasons why a woman would make the choice for fetal demise were demonstrated at trial. Dr. Anthony Levantino testified that in a D&E procedure, the “[f]etus dies from dismemberment from literally having arms and legs pulled off”; “[it] bleed[s] to death.” Another physician, Dr. David Berry, described a D&E procedure in which the doctor “pulled out a spine and some mangled ribs and the heart was actually still beating.” It is not difficult to understand why a majority of women would want the heart to stop beating before the fetus undergoes such an ordeal. As the Supreme Court has recognized, “No one would dispute that, for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.” This is because “[t]he fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”

“National Right to Life has made it a priority to pass legislation preventing an unborn child from dying a horrific death by a dismemberment abortion,” said Tobias. “While the court did not decide in our favor or in the favor of these young victims, we must never give up working toward the day when all innocent human life is protected in law.”

National Right to Life (NRLC) has been the leader in passing meaningful legislation since the mid-1980s. NRLC has been successful in passing laws such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which protects unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion, and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act which protects living unborn babies from being ripped apart limb from limb from a gruesome abortion procedure.

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.