US court stops anti-dismemberment law

The enactment of a Kansas law intended to stop the abortion by dismemberment of human fetuses during their second trimester has been temporarily stopped by the courts.

Shawnee County District Court judge Larry Hendricks has granted a temporary injunction against the US state’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which was to go into effect on July 1, while he considers further a lawsuit from the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

The law bans the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure that is commonly used in abortions during the second trimester of pregnancy, except in situations where the procedure is deemed necessary to protect the mother’s life or health.

Based on model legislation from National Right to Life, the measure was passed overwhelmingly by both houses of the Kansas Legislature earlier this year and was signed into law by Republican Governor Sam Brownback, who has said that the procedure is “a graphic reminder about how horrific abortion is”.

In a February interview he said, “there are actually abortions performed in the US today where you actually dismember an unborn child to pull it out”, adding, “You wouldn't do that to a dog, yet it's legal in the United States”.

Mary Spaulding Balch, National Right to Life’s director of state legislation, said “Today's injunction leaves unborn children vulnerable to painful death by dismemberment,” adding “the fact that the practice of dismembering an innocent, living unborn child is legally protected killing should outrage people everywhere”.

“Dismembering living unborn children needs to be outlawed,” she said.