A district judge in Kansas blocked the state’s ban on “dismemberment abortion” – the first ban of its kind in the United States – on the grounds that prohibiting the procedure would create an “obstacle” for women who want to terminate their pregnancies with brutal dismemberment.
Dismemberment is a late-term abortion procedure in which an unborn, living baby is torn to pieces and removed from the uterus. The new law would have prohibited abortionists from using forceps, clamps, scissors and other instruments to cut the unborn baby into pieces prior to removing its remains from the uterus. Lawmakers in Kansas said such a procedure on a live unborn baby is inhumane.
According to the Guardian, on Thursday, Shawnee County district court Judge Larry Hendricks ruled in the lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights that “the alternatives do not appear to be medically necessary or reasonable.”
Alternatives to dismemberment while alive include giving the unborn baby a lethal injection or severing its umbilical cord prior to removing it from the womb. The Center, however, argued that lethal injections could cause nausea and vomiting in the mothers of the babies.
The Center – which represents abortionists Dr. Herbert Hodes and his daughter Dr. Traci Nauser – argued the dismemberment ban would force women to either submit to riskier procedures– or terminate the pregnancy by giving birth.
According to the Associated Press, the Center also claimed that its clients, Hodes and Nauser, “personally prefer to perform dismemberment abortions,” rather than administer lethal injections to unborn babies or sever the umbilical cords.
Additionally, the Center said prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions did not permit states to ban the most common procedure for late-term abortions. Dismemberment, it argued, is used in 95 percent of second trimester abortions in the United States.
Hendricks predicted the Center’s arguments were likely to prevail, reported the Guardian.
Janet Crepps, an attorney with the Center, dismissed the state’s argument that the ban would protect the dignity of human life.
“One by one, the legislature could assert the same interests and ban every single abortion method,” she said.
The ban was due to take effect on July 1, and Hendricks’ order will prevent it from moving forward until he considers the Center’s arguments further.
The legislation emanates from the National Right to Life Committee, with Kansas taking it on and enacting it first. Oklahoma subsequently passed a similar measure, due to take effect in November.
“I think that ultimately, we’re going to be successful,” said Jessie Basgall, attorney for Kansans for Life. “This is just whether or not the law is going to stand while we actually litigate the merits of this law. I believe we’re on solid ground.”
While Hendricks said Kansas’ constitution protects abortion rights as much as the U.S. Constitution, AP reported the state’s attorneys disagreed, arguing that Kansas courts “haven’t previously said the state constitution protects abortion rights independently of the U.S. Constitution.”
The state currently bans abortions past the twenty-second week of pregnancy.