Dismemberment Abortion Ban

HB 4552 & HB 4553

SB 391 & SB 392


Current Status: HB 4552 and 4553 were introduced on April 27, 2017 by Representative Laura Cox. The bills were referred to the House Law and Justice Committee. SB 391 & 392 were introduced by Senator Tom Casperson on May 18, 2017 and were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are identical bills to HB 4552 & 4559. These bills amend the partial birth abortion ban that was enacted in 2011.

Earlier Legislative Action: Dismemberment abortion bans have been put in place in seven states. In four of the states, the law is not currently enforced due to legal challenges.  This is the second time the dismemberment abortion ban has been introduced in Michigan. This bill will amend the current partial birth abortion ban which has been in effect for years. The Supreme Court upheld the constiutionality 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 1,670 D & E abortions done in Michigan in 2016 or about 4-5 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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