NRL News

Texas AG will appeal court decision striking down ban on dismemberment abortions

by | Nov 22, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

Judge Lee Yeakel

With a consistent track record of hostility to pro-life legislation, today’s decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin striking down Texas’s Dismemberment Abortion Ban came as no surprise.

Judge Yeakel’s 27-page -long decision followed a five-day bench trial in which several abortion clinics and abortionists maintained the ban constituted an “undue burden.” His reasoning closely followed the pro-abortion criticism of the ban which was an amendment to Senate Bill 8 passed overwhelmingly earlier this year.

The (Austin) Statesman reported this afternoon that the state will appeal Judge Yeakel’s decision. Chuck Lindell wrote

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he will appeal the ruling, saying the law was intended to protect “unborn human life from ghastly dismemberment abortions.”

“No just society should tolerate the tearing of living human beings to pieces,” Paxton said, adding that the law is constitutional, “treats the unborn with dignity and respect and protects the integrity of the medical profession.”

The ban “outlaws a gruesome abortion procedure in which a living preborn child is torn limb from limb while his or her heart is still beating,” according to Texas Right to Life. “The dismemberment of a living child in utero is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and legislators acted upon their compelling state interest by protecting preborn Life with the Dismemberment Abortion Ban.”

Judge Yeakel minimizes the ghastly manner in which a living unborn child is torn apart and bleeds to death. His two-sentence acknowledgment? “Dismemberment of the fetus is the inevitable result. The evidence before the court is graphic and distasteful.”

Judge Yeakel was clearly influenced by the reluctance of abortionists to ensure fetal demise before they rip the child apart or to have their customary routine upset. He wrote

Three abortion providers testified that they would stop performing second-trimester abortions if required to always ensure in utero fetal demise before performing the evacuation phase of a standard D&E abortion. It is unknown how many other abortion providers would choose to not undergo the additional training and cease performing abortions.

He added, “Ensuring fetal demise before evacuation is a significant change in the way a standard D&E abortion has been historically performed.”

Judge Yeakel offered a passing nod to the “State’s interest in the dignity of fetal life” only to dismiss it in the next sentence.

The linchpin of his decision was, “After considering all of the medical expert testimony, the court concludes that pre-evacuation fetal demise provides no additional medical benefit to a woman undergoing a standard D&E abortion.” Thus, taken together the ban represents an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abort.

However, Texas Right to Life, which attended the entire trial, noted

When on the stand, Texas abortionists challenging SB 8 contradicted one another and admitted to being trained and well-versed in, and even of having policies of, promoting alternative abortion methods in compliance with the Dismemberment Abortion Ban. At the end of the day, the abortion industry was forced to graphically describe the draconian and violent process of taking a child’s life through dismemberment, while also defending the practice they claim Texas has no right to prohibit.

During the trial, Darren McCarty with the Texas attorney general’s office, told Judge Yeakel, “The state has a legitimate interest in banning the living dismemberment of an unborn child,” according to a previous story written by Lindell.

McCarty disputed abortion providers’ claims that the methods of fetal demise were risky and difficult to administer, adding that laws making abortions more costly or difficult to get do not impose an undue burden on access for women.

The Supreme Court has long said that states can impose regulations that protect the health of women and “promote respect for life, including the life of the unborn,” as long as access to abortion is not improperly limited, he said.

“The question is: Can Texas require that a fully formed and nearly viable human child be accorded a more humane manner of death?” McCarty said.

Former abortionist Anthony Levatino, M.D., “gave the court a brutal step-by-step explanation of the abortion procedure and his gut-wrenching personal conversion story that caused him to become a Pro-Life activist,” Texas Right to Life wrote. “Other important witnesses were current abortionists or neutral medical experts in Texas who entirely contradicted claims by the plaintiffs who explained the straightforward and common-sense ways that the abortion clinics challenging the law could comply.”

In addition, as Texas Right to Life explained, “ a public health expert and OB-GYN systematically and patiently went through a plethora of the relevant medical, scientific, peer-reviewed literature to read into the court record how claims being made by the abortion industry about dismemberment abortions and the alternative procedures were categorically false.”

As noted in the beginning, the Texas Attorney General promised the state will appeal Judge Yeakel’s decision to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Categories: Judicial