ACLU Attorney: Dismemberment Abortion Not ‘Inhumane’

D&E abortion

An ACLU attorney says the second-trimester abortion procedure known as Dilation & Evacuation (D&E), or “dismemberment” abortion, is not “inhumane.”

Maryland House Delegate Sid Saab (R) addressed Rachelle Yeung, public policy counsel for ACLU of Maryland, during a hearing for Maryland HB 1167. The bill, titled the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” would prohibit “dismemberment” abortions performed primarily during the second trimester of pregnancy.

The dialogue is as follows:

Del. Sid Saab (SS) to ACLU attorney Rachelle Yeung (RY): You really think this is unconstitutional?

RY: Yes, sir, I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t believe that.

SS: Do you think it’s inhumane?

RY: I’m testifying on the legal aspects of this bill.

SS: Right, but do you think it’s inhumane?

RY: No.

SS: You don’t?

RY: No, sir.

In her full testimony prior to questions, Yeung said:

A method ban is essentially a ban on abortion prior to viability, which we’ve already heard, would be unconstitutional. Even if it doesn’t ban all forms of abortion, it would ban the safest, as you’ve heard, and most common method of second-trimester abortions, which accounts for 95 percent of second-trimester abortions. This does create an undue burden on a woman’s ability to seek an abortion, which would be unconstitutional. Seven other states have passed method bans: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, and West Virginia. And in four of those states, the laws have already been challenged, and, in all four, the laws have been…are currently blocked, by court order, from taking effect. So, for these reasons, we are due to issue an unfavorable report on H.B. 1167.

Michele Hendrickson, eastern regional director for Students for Life of America, who testified in support of the legislation, reported her own observation that Yeung’s response that dismemberment abortion is not “inhumane” was “something that made the entire room look up from their cell phones and left everyone in shock. Everyone, that is, except for representatives from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU.”

Panelists testifying on the legislation were shown a video, produced by pro-life organization Live Action, that features former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino using medical animation to demonstrate a second-trimester D&E surgical abortion. During this procedure, an abortionist uses instruments to dismember an unborn baby between 13 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy, and then extracts the parts from the uterus.

According to Levatino:

After the amniotic fluid is removed, the abortionist uses a sopher clamp — a grasping instrument with rows of sharp “teeth” — to grasp and pull the baby’s arms and legs, tearing the limbs from the child’s body. The abortionist continues to grasp intestines, spine, heart, lungs, and any other limbs or body parts. The most difficult part of the procedure is usually finding, grasping and crushing the baby’s head. After removing pieces of the child’s skull, the abortionist uses a curette to scrape the uterus and remove the placenta and any remaining parts of the baby.

Robin Elliott of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, who testified in opposition to the bill, said dismemberment abortion is a “very safe method” used in abortion.

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland cites the World Health Organization (WHO) and its 2012 publication, “Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems (Second Edition),” in its statement against HB 1167.

“According to WHO,” NARAL states, “D&E is the safest and most effective surgical technique for later abortion.”

NARAL adds the legislation prevents “a woman’s right to receive abortion care in later stages of pregnancy and interferes with her ability to receive the care that will best safeguard her overall health and future fertility.”

“Those opposing life-saving legislation were in the minority,” Hendrickson reported.


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