Commentary

Second State Ends Abortion Tearing Fetuses Apart

Earlier this month, National Right to Life declared that “pro-life Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) signed into law the groundbreaking Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” (“Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Signs Dismemberment Abortion Bill,” nrlc.org, April 14).

Kansas, I wrote last week, was the first state to enact such a law.

And dig the size of the votes in the Oklahoma Legislature:

“The bill passed the state House of Representatives, 84-2, in February, and the state Senate, 37-4, last week. The law, which will go into effect on November 1, will prohibit dismemberment abortions in Oklahoma.”

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias says that by protecting unborn children from being torn limb from limb in the second trimester of abortion, “this law has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States.”

But that depends, of course, on how many of We The People are deeply disturbed by this abortion procedure’s ISIS-like gruesomeness. They must make their indignation known to state and federal legislators as well as the thus-far inattentive Supreme Court, religious leaders and passionate civil libertarians.

Much credit for changing the American public’s views on abortion is due to National Right to Life and its 50 state affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters. It is the nation’s oldest and biggest grassroots pro-life organization.

Yet as Virginia attorney Scott Lloyd writes in the Winter 2015 edition of The Human Life Review, “Nowhere is the coarsening effect of this procedure more acutely felt than among those in the medical profession. The methodical dismemberment of a human fetus turns out in many ways to be its own punishment, as it is a traumatic event for the people who have taken it upon themselves to perform such a deed, who go on to experience nightmares and regret” (“Banning Dismemberment Abortions: Constitutionality and Politics,” March 24, Scott Lloyd, humanlifereview.com).

He adds that “roughly 12 percent of all abortions nationwide are performed after the first trimester (up to 12 weeks after the last menstrual period), and of these, 95 percent are performed using the dismemberment method.”

Furthermore, Lloyd argues, “The important question that will be determined in litigation is whether a majority on the Supreme Court believes a ban on dismemberment abortions … constitutes an undue burden on the right to abortion …

“Even supposing a ban on dismemberment abortions did make second-trimester abortions more difficult to obtain, however, it does not necessarily follow that this would make a ban an undue burden, as women would still be free to obtain abortions by any means up to about 14 weeks and by other means until birth or until the point where it has been outlawed by a state — 20 weeks in some, 24 weeks in others …

“If it becomes necessary to provide a rational reason for distinguishing between two late-term-abortion procedures (and there is a substantial likelihood that it will come to this), there is an expansive body of literature … suggesting that there is a special gruesomeness and inhumanity to dismemberment abortions that have a particularly damaging effect on the psychological/spiritual well-being and moral standing of the people who participate in them …

“Several different accounts mention the phenomenon of feeling the sensation of tearing, of holding the limbs in the forceps, and of struggling to grasp the head, then crushing it, and often beholding a well-formed face in the process …”

Scott Lloyd then goes on to quote extensively from the accounts of Dr. Warren Hern, an abortion physician based in Boulder, Colorado: “There was clear agreement (among clinic staff) that D&E is qualitatively a different procedure, medically and emotionally, than early abortion.

“Many of the respondents (staff at an abortion clinic) reported serious emotional reactions that produced psychological symptoms, sleep disturbances, effects on interpersonal relationships, and moral anguish … (Most staff) thought that D&E was more difficult, tedious, risky, and painful than other procedures for everyone involved, and some feared major complications.”

This is still civilized America?

Will anyone dare to show videos and other depictions of unborn American human beings with their own DNA undergoing these horrible procedures — and the eyes of those committing these undeniable crimes against humanity — in classrooms around this complicit nation?

Yes, classrooms. This is essential education for future generations.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in a medical illustration of this procedure, it is at nrlc.org/abortion/pba/deabortiongraphic. Indeed, you ought to send a copy to vehement pro-choice President Barack Obama.

In more than 70 years of fact-finding reporting, I’ve never been so ashamed and angered that such a horror is being allowed to continue throughout these United States.

Imagine the reaction if it had been proposed at our historic Constitutional Convention, even when huge inequalities were remaining.

In America, we still have marches for justice to support various causes. So where is the march to end the dismemberment of these unborn Americans, whose facial expressions can be seen as they disappear?

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.