Communications Department

NRLC Urges Co-Sponsorship of Dismemberment Abortion Ban

Feb 12, 2016 | Dismemberment Abortion Ban

To view or download a PDF version of this letter, click here.


RE: Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 3515)

Dear Member of Congress:

The National Right to Life Committee, the federation of state right-to-life organizations, urges you to co-sponsor the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 3515).

This vital pro-life legislation, introduced by Reps. Chris Smith, Vicki Hartzler, Virginia Foxx, and Trent Franks, would prohibit the performance of dismemberment abortion. H.R. 3515 is based on a model state bill proposed by National Right to Life, which was enacted during 2015 in Kansas and Oklahoma. So far in 2016, similar bills have been introduced in nine state legislatures, and in several of those legislatures the bills are moving forward.

H.R. 3515 defines “dismemberment abortion” as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off . . .”

This definition largely overlaps with what those in the abortion trade currently refer to as “dilation and evacuation” or “dilation and extraction” (D&E) abortions. The method is commonly used starting at about 14 weeks of pregnancy, and extending into the third trimester.

H.R. 3515 allows performance of an dismemberment abortion if necessary to save a mother’s life. The bill also says that it does not limit abortions performed in cases of rape or incest, if performed by a method other than dismemberment abortion.

In his dissent in the 2000 case of Stenberg v. Carhart, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote regarding D&E abortion: “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.”

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

If you agree that an unborn child should not be subjected to the cruel violence of having her arms and legs torn off by brute force, with steel tools that grasp, tear, and crush, please co-sponsor the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act. Thank you for your consideration of the importance placed by our organization on this landmark legislation.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Tobias

David N. O’Steen, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Douglas D. Johnson
Legislative Director