By Dave Andrusko, National Right to Life
The Supreme Court today denied Alabama’s petition to review a decision that overturned the state’s ban on the dismemberment of living unborn babies.
The 2016 law never went into effect. In July 2016, an enthusiastically pro-abortion trial judge issued a temporary restraining order against Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act (SB 363) before ruling it unconstitutional in 2017.
Last August, a sympathetic appeals court panel reluctantly upheld U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson’s decision.
While Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas concurred with the decision in Harris v. West Alabama Women’s Center not to hear the appeal, he pointedly observed, “The notion that anything in the Constitution prevents States from passing laws prohibiting the dismembering of a living child is implausible. But under the ‘undue burden’ standard adopted by this court, a restriction on abortion — even one limited to prohibiting gruesome methods — is unconstitutional if ‘the purpose or effect of the provision is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.’ ”
Thomas warned, “This case serves as a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control. Today, we are confronted with decisions requiring States to allow abortion via live dismemberment. None of these [previous abortion] decisions is supported by the text of the Constitution. ”
In his first paragraph, Thomas emphasized, “The law does not prohibit women from obtaining an abortion…” What it does prevent, Thomas continued, is abortionists “purposefully ‘dismember[ing] a living unborn child and extract[ing] him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments’ that ‘slice, crush, or grasp . . . a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off.’”
In March 2017 the governors and attorneys general of 22 states joined together to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief to support Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The brief argued
“Even when some abortion providers consider a forbidden procedure to be medically preferable, the State’s reasonable resolution of the tradeoffs prevails. Abortion providers instead must work to find abortion methods that are more consistent with respect for life.”
(Of course, the ultimate goal is for the Roe regime, and abortions, to end.)
According to the amicus,
“By limiting the use of particularly ‘brutal’ abortion procedures, States further respect for life, both in society at large and in the medical profession in particular. They also protect women from the deep grief many of them are likely to feel if and when they later discover exactly how their unborn children were killed.”
Thomas concluded, “Although this case does not present the opportunity to address our demonstrably erroneous ‘undue burden’ standard, we cannot continue blinking the reality of what this Court has wrought.”