You may have heard of the barbaric medieval practice of drawing and quartering, as described by historian William Harrison in 1557:
The greatest and most grievous punishment used in England for such as offend against the State is drawing from the prison to the place of execution upon an hurdle or sled, where they are hanged till they be half dead, and then taken down, and quartered alive; after that, their members and bowels are cut from their bodies, and thrown into a fire, provided near hand and within their own sight, even for the same purpose.
This is how Scottish leader William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson in Braveheart) was put to death.
And it pretty much describes a Dilatation and Evacuation abortion, wherein the abortionist reaches into the uterus blindly with forceps and starts grabbing and twisting off body parts of a living baby. Click to enlarge…
D&E abortions are committed beginning in the second trimester, when a baby is about 12 weeks’ gestation (14 weeks from date of last menstrual period).
D&Es replace Dilatation and Curettage abortions at this age because babies get too big, and their bones and cartilage too inflexible, to remove by suctioning and scraping.
In 2010, the National Right to Life Committee introduced us to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions of preborn babies from the age of 20 weeks post-fertilization.
Despite last week’s unconscionable retreat by House Republicans from pressing forward with a federal Pain-Capable ban, to date 10 states have enacted it, with four more expected to follow suit this year. (Pain-Capable bans in two additional states are tied up in court and another one has been enjoined.)
Now, NRLC is pressing forward with an abortion ban that would protect even younger babies. Kansas, where Republicans control all three branches of government, will soon become the first state to introduce the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act, which Gov. Sam Brownback has promised to sign.
The bill is not yet available online, but NRLC State Legislative Director Mary Balch told me by phone this morning it contains NO rape/incest exception.
It is no secret pro-life groups are in various ways attempting to trigger a lawsuit that lands at the Supreme Court’s door, and in this case NRLC believes the infamous swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy (pictured right), would sway our way. From a January 14 NRLC press release:
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”
Justice Kennedy added in the Court’s 2007 opinion, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”
Contrary to Feminist Majority Foundation’s claim, there is another late-term abortion method abortionists could turn to if D&Es are banned: induced labor abortion, of which I am particularly aware. As of 2009, D&Es accounted for “96% of all second trimester abortions,” according to NRLC, of approximately 100,000 babies who are aborted annually from this age upward.
The fact that abortionists might simply switch procedures disturbs me, of course, although I know the mere title, “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act,” is incredibly educational.
But Balch reminded me the induced labor abortion method requires a higher level of expertise, as abortionists testified during the Partial Birth Abortion Ban hearings. It requires the abortionist to give the baby a lethal injection before starting the labor induction by inserting a long needle through the mother’s abdomen that is visualized on ultrasound.
If abortionists don’t kill the baby before starting labor induction, they risk live births, and hopefully Gosnell’s life sentence for killing abortion survivors will dissuade them from risking that.
So, yes, a Dismemberment Ban would stop many babies from being aborted.
And, of course, there is the aforementioned educational component. It was during the “dizzying array,” as Guttmacher termed them, of PBA bans introduced throughout the states and federally during the 1990s that public opinion began to change on abortion…
Balch credits that debate in no small part for the strong pro-life commitment of today’s Millennials, who grew up during those years.
To address concerns of those who would oppose the Dismemberment Ban as “immoral incrementalism,” as opposed to “moral incrementalism” (which they define), Balch responded:
There is not a perfect bill I have worked on – ever. There are always loopholes [JLS note: as I explain here]. The loopholes are not of our making. The loopholes are because abortion is legal in the U.S., and we’re dealing with that fact and trying to work in that reality.
Our job as pro-lifers is to put the baby back in the debate, and imperfect legislation does that. If I could draft perfect legislation there would be no killing. But right now we have an imperfect reality.
So keep an eye out for the next big pro-life conquest: dismemberment abortions, and plan to describe their horrific reality.