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Dismemberment Abortion Ban

H.B. 4833 & H.B. 4834

S.B. 704 & S.B. 705

Current Status: S.B. 704 & 705 were introduced by Senator Tom Casperson on Jan. 14, 2016 and were referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee.  S.B. 704 & 705 are identical to the house bills. H.B. 4833 and 4834 were introduced on August 19, 2015 by Representative Laura Cox.  The bills were referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee and a committee hearing was held on September 29, 2015. A second committee hearing was held on Nov. 10, 2015 where both bills were voted out of committee on party lines. These bills amend the partial birth abortion ban that was enacted in 2011.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Earlier Legislative ActionDismemberment abortion bans have been put in place in both Kansas and Oklahoma. In Kansas a judge has blocked the law from going into effect for now. This is the first time this bill has been introduced in Michigan. However, this bill will amend the current partial birth abortion ban which has been in effect for four years. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the partial birth abortion ban law in 2007 with its Carhart vs. Gonzales decision.

Description: Dismemberment abortion is the name given to a common second trimester abortion called the dilation and evacuation abortion or D & E abortion.  This type of abortion is typically performed on unborn babies from 13 weeks through 24 weeks gestation. During this procedure, the abortion provider inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab a living fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The unborn baby is torn apart limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off. The violent and dehumanizing nature of dismemberment abortion undermines the public’s perception of the appropriate role of a physician and confuses the medical, legal, and ethical duties of physicians to preserve and promote life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Background: The D & E abortion is the most commonly preformed type of second trimester abortion. There were approximately 2,200 D & E abortions done in Michigan in 2014 or about 3 per day. With the Center for Medical Progress videos highlighting the trafficking of fetal organs and tissue at Planned Parenthood, the reality of D & E abortions is once again on the forefront of the public conscience.  Researchers are eager to obtain fetal tissue from later gestational aged babies, so the D & E abortion method becomes the necessary tool for abortion providers.

History: The D & E abortion procedure was a focus of discussion during the Supreme Court's decision on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.  The procedure itself was discussed at length and references to it were included in the majority opinion. Justice Kennedy said this about dismemberment abortions: "a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.” This type of abortion has been in use since 1973.


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