Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Tuesday, August 24, 2021
A federal appeals court that upheld a Texas abortion restriction last week also dabbled in pro-life apologetics by raising an ethical question: Why is it illegal to dismember an animal but permissible to tear apart an unborn baby?
The case involved a Texas law (SB8) that bans a second-trimester abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” (D&E), which involves ripping apart an unborn baby, limb by limb in the womb to prevent a live birth. The pro-life community calls it “dismemberment” abortion.
Although a lower court judge struck down the law, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 9-5 ruling, upheld it.
A group of abortion clinics and doctors had sued the State, seeking to have the law overturned.
Judges Jennifer Walker Elrod and Don R. Willett, who co-wrote the majority decision, noted: “It is … illegal to dismember living animals. … The State urges that SB8 would simply extend the same protection to fetuses.”
Judge Priscilla Owens, who voted with the majority in the judgment, made a similar argument in a concurring opinion.
“The State has expressed its interest in prohibiting the dismemberment of a living fetus,” Owens wrote. “This is congruent with the widely accepted principle that dismemberment of living mammals should be prohibited. For example, unwanted dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in shelters must be humanely euthanized under Texas law.”
Owens then quoted Texas saw, which says dogs and cats in the custody of an animal shelter must be euthanized by sodium pentobarbital.
A D&E abortion, Owens said, is “abhorrent.”
The majority opinion had argued that pregnant women who receive D&E abortions “are not being told what is going to happen to the fetus.” For example, a typical form does not tell the patient that “‘the pregnancy tissue will be removed during the procedure’ and does not explain that the fetus’s body parts – arms, legs, ribs, skull, and everything else – will be ripped apart and pulled out piece by piece,” the majority argued.
Owens and Elrod were nominated by President George W. Bush. Willett was nominated by President Donald Trump.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kieferpix
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Supreme Court announces it will hear challenge to Roe v. Wade; stage set for potential landmark ruling
By Dillon Burroughs, The Western Journal September 20, 2021
The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for Dec. 1 regarding a Mississippi case that seeks to overturn the long-standing Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
The Mississippi case will serve as the first major abortion-related case to be heard in the Supreme Court under the new conservative 6-3 majority following the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020.
The case will address Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act passed in 2018. The act, blocked by two federal courts, generally prohibits abortion after 15 weeks, allowing exceptions only in the case of “medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality.” As ABC noted, it has no exceptions for rape or incest.
The brief in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization argued that Roe v. Wade and another landmark abortion decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, were erroneously decided.
“Under the Constitution, may a State prohibit elective abortions before viability? Yes. Why? Because nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion,” read the introduction to the brief, filed by Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.
After some technical discussion, it reiterates the point.
“Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition …
Roe broke from prior cases, Casey failed to rehabilitate it, and both recognize a right that has no basis in the Constitution.”
It dealt with the complications the court’s previous rulings have imposed.
“Abortion jurisprudence has placed this Court at the center of a controversy that it can never resolve,” the brief added. “And Roe and Casey have produced a jurisprudence that is at war with the demand that this Court act based on neutral principles.”
The Wall Street Journal noted in July, when Mississippi appealed to the Supreme Court, that the state had originally argued the law did not violate court precedents, “suggesting that Roe be overruled only if the court found no other way to uphold the state law.”
In its actual argument to the court, however, it was much more direct. And abortion activists were
“Mississippi just said the quiet part out loud,” a statement from Planned Parenthood Action read, according to a July 23 report in The Washington Free Beacon. “This was always their end game: to have the Court overrule 50 years of precedent and allow states to ban abortion.”
“If Roe falls, half the states in the country are poised to ban abortion entirely,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, the pro-abortion group representing Jackson Women’s Health Organization, The Wall Street Journal reported in July.
“Women of childbearing age in the U.S. have never known a world in which they don’t have this basic right, and we will keep fighting to make sure they never will.”
Pro-life groups, meanwhile, see the case holding the potential for a major victory.
In August, the Supreme Court rejected a request to stop an anti-abortion law in Texas from going into effect Sept. 1. The controversial law bans most abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, generally at around six weeks of pregnancy.
The court’s decided 5-4 not to intervene.
Several pro-abortion groups have appealed to Joe Biden and lawmakers to intervene. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will push for a vote on a new federal-level pro-choice bill later this month.