Communications Department

Dismemberment Abortion Ban in Kansas Leads 2015 Pro-Life Legislative Agenda

Jan 14, 2015 | 2015 Press Releases


WASHINGTON – In a move that will transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States, National Right to Life announced a major new component of the right to life movement’s 2015 legislative agenda with today’s introduction in Kansas of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The wave of pro-life victories in the 2014 election helped set the stage for this first-of-its-kind legislation, which would protect unborn children from the brutality of dismemberment abortion.

“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”

Sponsored by state Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act is the top state legislative priority for National Right to Life’s affiliate, Kansans for Life (KFL). In announcing the bill at a press conference in Topeka, KFL Legislative Director Kathy Ostrowski observed, “With the discussion about, and passage of this bill, the public will see that dismemberment abortions brutally – and unacceptably – rip apart small human beings who have all of their internal organs and who have perfectly formed fingers and toes.”

D&E dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.

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…”

“When abortion textbooks describe in cold, explicit detail exactly how to kill a human being by ripping off arms and legs piece by piece, civilized members of society have no choice but to stand up and demand a change,” added Spaulding Balch. “When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.”

A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here:

Background materials on the bill are available on the National Right to Life website: Included in the background materials is the testimony of Anthony Levatino, M.D., before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in May 2013, in which he described in great detail the D&E dismemberment abortions he once performed.


Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

The right-to-life movement’s top congressional priority for the new 114th Congress is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill is based on NRLC-originated model legislation that has been enacted in 10 states. It would generally protect unborn children from abortion beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (the start of the sixth month), based on their capacity by that point, if not earlier, to experience excruciating pain during the abortion process.

The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, by a vote of 228-196, but did not receive a vote in the Senate during 2013-2014. It was reintroduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 36 on January 6, 2015, by Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and the House Republican leadership has indicated that the House will take up the bill on January 22 (the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade).

Companion legislation will soon be reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). The new Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has vowed that the Senate will take up the bill at some point during the Congress.

“In the new Congress, every member of the House and Senate will go on record on whether to permit the continued killing of pain-capable unborn children,” said National Right to Life Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

In a nationwide poll of 1,623 registered voters in November 2014, The Quinnipiac University Poll found that 60% would support a law such as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, while only 33% opposed such legislation. Women voters split 59-35% in support of such a law, while independent voters supported it by 56-36%.

Some of the extensive evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks fetal age, is available on the NRLC website at and also here:

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

At the time Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, an array of long-established laws, including the Hyde Amendment, had created a nearly uniform policy that federal programs did not pay for abortion or subsidize health plans that included coverage of abortion, with narrow exceptions. Regrettably, provisions of the 2010 Obamacare health law ruptured that longstanding policy. Among other objectionable provisions, the Obamacare law authorized massive federal subsidies to assist many millions of Americans to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), would codify the principles of the Hyde Amendment on a permanent government-wide basis, with respect both to longstanding federal health programs (Medicaid, SCHIP, FEHB, etc.) and to new programs created by the Obamacare law. For example, under the bill, exchange-participating health plans that cover elective abortion would not be eligible for federal subsidies.

Further information about federal funding of abortion is available on the National Right to Life website here:

National Right to Life experts, including President Carol Tobias, Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., and Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson are available to provide further information and commentary on the Right to Life Movement’s 2015 legislative agenda. To arrange an interview, call the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 or email

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.