Hearing on temporary restraining order for Dismemberment Abortion Ban held in Austin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Hearing on temporary restraining order for Dismemberment Abortion Ban held in Austin

Austin, Texas—August 29, 2017: Today, Texas Right to Life attended a hearing in a U.S. District Court on the abortion providers’ temporary restraining order against the Dismemberment Abortion Ban.  The hearing took place before Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District of Texas.  The abortion lobby requested that the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, which goes into effect on Friday, be put on hold until a full hearing can occur.  Judge Yeakel is expected to release an order on the temporary restraining order later this week.

The Dismemberment Abortion Ban outlaws the abortion procedure in which a living preborn child is killed by being torn limb from limb in utero.  The Dismemberment Abortion Ban was Texas Right to Life’s top priority for the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature.  The measure also had overwhelming grassroots support and was the most widely supported Pro-Life policy platform plank for the Republican Party of Texas.  The legislation was initially filed by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth).  Senator Perry’s SB 415 passed the full Senate early in the regular session with bipartisan support on a 21-9 vote, but the companion was stalled in the House, prompting Representative Klick to propose the legislation as an amendment to Senate Bill 8 on the House floor.  The amendment passed with overwhelming bipartisan support of House members on a vote of 92-42, and Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 as amended into law shortly after the session.

The abortion industry disingenuously argued in court that the Dismemberment Abortion Ban raises an undue burden to women seeking second trimester abortions by banning all D&E abortions.  In filings and in court, the Attorney General’s office powerfully argued SB 8 clearly only prohibits one specific type of D&E abortion, which the state Legislature defined as “Dismemberment Abortions.”  This critical argument could determine the trajectory of the lawsuit because Texas Right to Life and the Pro-Life elected officials who fought for the policy in Austin shaped the bill off the historic 2007 Pro-Life victory when the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the similar Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.  Just like partial-birth abortions, dismemberment abortions are inhumane and gruesome acts of violence against the preborn child.  Passing these types of bills educates elected officials and the public on the horrific truth about the injustice and violence of abortion.  The abortion clinic lawyers are attempting to frame this lawsuit on how SB 8 will affect Texas women and the abortion industry, however the important question before the court is whether this type of procedure is something Texas has the right to stop.  The attorney for the state opened his comments in court clarifying, “SB 8 is designed to do one thing: stop the brutal and gruesome procedure of [live]dismemberment abortions.”

The legal challenge from abortion providers and the Center for Reproductive Rights comes as no surprise to Pro-Life advocates.  Texas Right to Life anticipated this legal challenge to the strongest Pro-Life legislation of the session, and chose the Dismemberment Abortion Ban as the next logical step for the Pro-Life movement to undermine the legal foundation of Roe v. Wade.  Pro-Life legal scholars anticipate that the Dismemberment Abortion Ban will successfully stand in court like the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban, which outlawed a specific and particularly gruesome and inhumane abortion procedure.  Additionally, in the 2007 ruling of Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court confirmed the states’ compelling interest in protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession in protecting the life of the preborn child, which further strengthens Texas’ case in defending the Dismemberment Abortion Ban.

Judge Yeakel has a long history of ruling against Pro-Life legislation and described his court as “a whistle stop on the way to New Orleans, then onto D.C.,” because the vast majority of his rulings on important bills like this typically are appealed to a higher court.  Texas Right to Life is thankful to Attorney General Ken Paxton and his expert team who have stated their dedication to defending the Dismemberment Abortion Ban to the highest court necessary.

Founded in 1973, Texas Right to Life is the oldest and largest Pro-Life organization in Texas. Recognized as the statewide leader of the Pro-Life movement in Texas, Texas Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect the rights of the unborn, persons with disabilities, the sick, the elderly, and the vulnerable through legal, peaceful, and prayerful means.