A federal judge temporarily blocked a Texas law that banned second trimester dismemberment abortions in which unborn babies are “torn limb from limb” and then extracted from the uterus.
Following a challenge by Planned Parenthood, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a two-week injunction Thursday against the law – signed in June by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) – that would have taken effect Friday.
The judge wrote that Planned Parenthood and the other plaintiffs satisfied a requirement for the temporary injunction showing that “threatened injury to the Plaintiffs outweighs any damage that the temporary restraining order might cause the State.”
“The court concludes that plaintiffs have established that absent a temporary restraining order they will suffer irreparable harm by being unable to access the most commonly used and safest previability-second-trimester-abortion procedure ahead of any substantial constitutional review of the act,” Yeakel wrote.
Planned Parenthood celebrated the injunction on Twitter, arguing the Texas statute blocks women’s access to abortion.
“We’re grateful that today’s decision will protect women’s access to one of the safest and most common methods of abortion in the second trimester,” Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, according to Reuters. “This dangerous law is yet another attempt by politicians to ban abortion step by step and method by method, regardless of who it hurts.”
However, a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office said:
Abortion by dismemberment kills fetuses by tearing them limb from limb while they are still alive, causing the unborn victim to bleed to death. The U.S. Supreme Court holds that states have an interest in protecting and fostering respect for human life, including unborn life.
“Dismemberment abortions are gruesome and inhumane, which makes it troubling that a district court would block Texas’ lawful authority to protect the life of unborn children from such a barbaric practice,” added Marc Rylander, director of communications for Paxton’s office. “The Texas Attorney General will continue to defend our state’s legal right to protect the basic human rights and dignity of the unborn.”
The judge’s ruling quoted the law that defines “dismemberment abortions” as:
dismember[ing] the living unborn child and extract[ing] the unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps, or performs any combination of those actions on, a piece of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip the piece from the body.
While the law did not ban other types of “D&E” abortions, it did prohibit the purchase or sale of the body parts of aborted babies, and require the disposal of aborted remains in a humane and respectful way.
Texas Right to Life observes:
The abortion clinic lawyers are attempting to frame this lawsuit on how SB 8 will affect Texas women and the abortion industry, however the important question before the court is whether this type of procedure is something Texas has the right to prohibit. In the hearing over the temporary restraining order earlier this week, the attorney for the state opened his comments in court clarifying, “SB 8 is designed to do one thing: stop the brutal and gruesome procedure of living dismemberment abortions.”
In a medical animation video, former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino demonstrates a second-trimester “D&E” abortion during which the abortionist uses instruments to remove the limbs from an unborn baby, between 13 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy, prior to extraction from the uterus:
National pro-life leaders also pointed to the gruesomeness of the dismemberment abortion procedure.
In a statement sent to Breitbart News, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said:
Once again, a judge has considered the financial pain suffered by abortionists to be more important than the physical pain experienced by babies who are torn limb from limb. There’s only one reason the abortion industry is challenging Texas’s law protecting unborn babies – abortionists will lose money if it goes into effect.
“There is no need for an injunction and there is no need for a hearing,” Pavone added. “We’re talking about the dismemberment of living children. Civilized societies don’t permit that, and it’s that simple.”
Texas Right to Life adds, nevertheless, that the ruling is “the first step in a longer and consequential legal battle over this dynamic and historic legislation.”
“Judge Yeakel’s granting of the TRO today is expected given his past of ruling against Pro-Life legislation,” the group continued. “Texas Right to Life is thankful to Attorney General Ken Paxton and his expert team who have stated their dedication to defending the Dismemberment Abortion Ban to the highest court necessary.”
According to the injunction, the law is blocked until a Sept. 4 hearing.