Pro-life legislators in Texas are arguing for unborn children to be lethally injected with poison, and even that isn’t enough for U.S. courts and the pro-abortion-rights movement.
Do pro-life Texans want unborn children to be poisoned? Of course not. But in Texas, these legislators are attempting to enshrine in law their conviction that, if unborn children must be killed in abortions, they deserve to be spared as much pain as possible. These unborn children, Texas lawmakers believe, do not deserve to be ripped apart in the womb by metal utensils as their hearts are still beating within them.
Yeakel ruled just last week that, because the Supreme Court decreed in 1973 that the United States Constitution grants women the right to an abortion, attempts to mitigate that right of hers in any way are necessarily unconstitutional.
So, Texas’s pro-life forces have lost this latest battle — their campaign to ensure that every aborted child is at least dead before it is brutally dismembered. Of course, there are victories every day for the pro-life movement, if not legislative ones. Every time just one mother chooses life for her child — out of a conviction that life itself is good, and because she feels supported by those around her — it is a crucial victory. Policy isn’t everything.
When Yeakel’s ruling came down, factions of the Left actually cheered. No prominent voices on the left talked about the grim nature of this procedure; no one cited the need to keep abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” No. Planned Parenthood and NARAL and left-wing politicians gave a polite round of applause for the crucial right to dismember children in the womb.
Outlet after outlet assured us patiently that this abortion procedure is the most common second-trimester abortion available, as if that somehow ameliorates the horror of it. (Its commonplace nature, of course, actually makes it worse.) Many people much smarter than I, including Yeakel in his opinion, snidely pointed out that “dismemberment abortion” isn’t the accurate medical term for this procedure.
We can call this procedure whatever you’d like to call it, but we cannot shy away from the stark, brutal fact of what it does.
Well, let’s give them that one. This procedure isn’t technically called a “dismemberment abortion.” It’s called a dilation and evacuation. But that fact also doesn’t matter one whit. What exactly is “dismemberment,” after all? To dismember means “to cut off or disjoin the limbs, members, or parts of.” That is what this procedure does to the (living) fetus. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist who describes the procedure in a video for Live Action (warning: graphic content).
This procedure is, without a doubt, the dismemberment of a living, unborn child. This child has human DNA, completely unique and distinct from that of its mother and father, and indeed from every other human being that has ever existed. And it is indeed alive as this procedure takes place. It meets all of the scientific criteria necessary to establish the existence of life. Between the gestational ages of 13 and 24 weeks, the unborn child grows fingernails and hair, develops fingerprints, can hear clearly, and can even suck its thumb.
We can call this procedure whatever you’d like to call it, but we cannot and must not shy away from the stark, brutal fact of what it does. If abortion-rights advocates believe a woman has a right to this procedure, they can go right ahead and defend it. But they had better be willing to defend it in its entirety. This is far too grave to cosset in euphemisms about bodily autonomy and female empowerment.
Anyone who cheered for Yeakel’s decision must stare the truth of this procedure in the face. They must admit, if only to themselves, that they believe abortion rights are so important that women must be guaranteed the ability to have their living children dismembered within them — because simply injecting those children with poison before throwing them in the dustbin isn’t enough.
— Alexandra DeSanctis is a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.