Nearly three months after Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong first upheld the stateâ€™s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, and nearly two months after Judge Truong denied a motion for a temporary injunction that would keep the law from taking effect while the case continues, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, asking the stateâ€™s highest court to block the law and another law that allows women to reflect on her decision for 72 hours after receiving s counseling before they can have an abortion.
â€œOklahoma has agreed not to enforce the ban until the state Supreme Court considers an emergency motion from the plaintiffs,â€� according to Kaylee Douglas. â€œThe 72-hours law has been in effect since 2015.â€�
â€œThese two laws will devastate abortion access in Oklahoma,â€� claimed Julie Rikelman, Senior Litigation Director at the New York-based CRR.
Oklahoma was the second state to pass a ban on the dismemberment of living unborn children. Kansas was the first. Ten other states also forbid this hideous dismemberment technique.
In a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist continually reaches into the motherâ€™s womb with a variety of sharp-edged metal clamps and tools, yanking off parts of the living unborn child and pulling them out, piece by piece, and placed in a tray.
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In 2015, the bill passed the state House of Representatives, 84-2 and the state Senate 37-4 and was signed into law by pro-life Gov. Gov. Mary Fallin.
At the time, Oklahomans For Life State Chairman Tony Lauinger commended Gov. Fallin â€œfor her quick action in signing into law the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which will prohibit this barbaric inhumanity in our state.â€� Lauinger, who is NRLCâ€™s executive vice president, added, â€œWe appreciate, also, the exceptional leadership of Representatives Pam Peterson and Senator Josh Brecheen for spearheading the enactment of this landmark lifesaving legislation.â€�
However a lawsuit, brought by the CRR on behalf of the Tulsa Womenâ€™s Clinic, meant that the law, scheduled to go into effect in November 2015, has been on hold.
On July 12, when Judge Truong upheld the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter celebrated the victory.
â€œDismemberment abortions are barbaric, brutal and subject unborn children to more cruelty that we allow for death row inmates,â€� he said. â€œIt is unconscionable to think that we would allow this practice to continue. Judge Truong is to be commended for declaring this legislation constitutional. Today is a major victory for basic human decency in Oklahoma.â€�
No wonder former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy found dismemberment abortions so abhorrent.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Courtâ€™s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy observed that in dismemberment abortions, â€œThe fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn 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.â€�
Seven years later Justice Kennedy added in the Courtâ€™s 2007, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E (dismemberment) abortions are â€œladen with the power to devalue human lifeâ€¦â€�