Alabama Law Protects Unborn Children

Jan 30, 2018

Today Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals defending the Alabama law that prohibits dismemberment abortions of live unborn babies, known as Dilation and Extraction (D&E), based on the medical evidence of their ability to feel intense pain.

In West Alabama Women’s Center v. Thomas Miller, Liberty Counsel represents the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American College of Pediatricians as amici curiae supporting the state's law.

Standards of care in the medical profession, as well as compassion and common human decency, require that unborn children who are undergoing life-saving intrauterine surgery be given anesthetics and analgesics to reduce pain from the procedures. In keeping with such standards and its compelling interest in respecting human life, the Alabama Legislature has enacted a law prohibiting the killing of living unborn children by tearing them limb from limb in dismemberment abortion procedures. However, those like the plaintiffs who profit from dismemberment abortions performed on living unborn children are challenging the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act as a purported unconstitutional infringement on the mothers’ right to abort their children.

The Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act protects the health and safety of the mothers as well as furthering the state’s compelling interests in respecting the life of the unborn child, preventing cruel and unusual punishment and protecting the ethics and integrity of the medical profession. The Act also complements the state’s protection of unborn children through enactment of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which recognizes that unborn babies as young as 20 weeks have pain receptors all over their skin in a concentration equal to or greater than that of adult skin.

Doctors performing the D&E abortions are acutely affected by the child’s humanity and experience deep emotions and even nightmares. Dr. Lisa Harris, a physician who has performed second-trimester abortions, states the experience of doing a D&E abortion on an unborn child at 18-week gestation a “brutally visceral” experience while she was 18 weeks pregnant herself.

“Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes” said Harris. “There was a leg and foot in my forceps, and a ‘thump, thump’ in my abdomen. I went about doing the procedure as usual. I used electrical suction to remove the amniotic fluid, picked up my forceps and began to remove the fetus in parts, as I always did. I felt lucky that this one was already in the breech position – it would make grasping small parts (legs and arms) a little easier.”

“Abortion is different from other surgical procedures,” Harris admits, calling it “violent.”

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