AUSTIN — Texas lawmakers earlier this year outlawed what some term “dismemberment abortions,” but a recent legal ruling held the statute unconstitutional, saying it unduly burdens pregnant women.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing the federal district court’s decision, saying in a statement that “abortion by dismemberment kills fetuses by tearing them limb from limb while they are still alive, causing the unborn victim to bleed to death.”
There’s no arguing that states have an interest in protecting human life, but opponents of banning the second-trimester abortion procedure, commonly called dilation and evacuation, say the mother’s right to safely end a pregnancy trumps the government’s interest when the fetus is not yet viable.
Although federal courts in other states have halted enforcement of similar statutes, pro-life advocates continue pressing to limit or end legal abortions altogether.
“It is part of a bigger nationwide strategy to limit access to abortion,” said Blake Rocap, legislative counsel for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. “This is a bill that’s been passed in other states and in every state it’s been struck down.”
Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, acknowledged that the pro-life movement’s ultimate goal is to roll back Rowe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide.
“The question,” Pojman said, “is what’s the best way to do it.”