5th Circuit judge calls abortion procedure ‘barbaric’ in dissent

Constitutional law

5th Circuit judge calls abortion procedure ‘barbaric’ in dissent

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Judge Don Willett of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans made clear his distaste for the most common abortion procedure in the second trimester of a dissent filed last week.

Willett graphically described what he considers “barbaric” second-trimester dilation and evacuation abortions while criticizing the majority for using language that “camouflags things in innocuous and sanitizing abstractions.”

The majority of the panel struck down a Texas law that requires doctors performing dilation and evacuation abortions to first ensure that the fetus dies in utero. The majority said the additional procedure is medically unnecessary and that the law unduly impairs a woman’s constitutionally protected right to obtain an abortion before she is viable.

The majority ruled on October 13but the court issued an amended opinion October 22 which included Willett CONTESTATION, Law360 reports. Willett is an appointee of President Donald Trump.

The majority said dilation and evacuation abortions are the most common procedure after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. To perform the procedure, the doctor dilates the cervix and then uses suction, forceps, or other instruments to remove the fetus. Because the fetus is usually larger than the dilated cervical opening at 15 weeks, the fetal tissue usually separates when the doctor removes it, the majority said.

Willett used other words to describe the procedure, referring to the description of Texas law.

Willett wrote: “A physician extracts from the womb what, moments before, had been a living ‘unborn child’, using forceps, scissors or similar instrument which ‘slices, crushes or grasps” the fetal body parts one at a time. Room by room. Arm to arm. Leg by leg. And as the abortion doctor cut[s] or tear[s] the piece of the body” – a torso, a spine, a rib cage – he places each body part on a tray (or in a dish) to take inventory and make sure nothing is left. Sometimes the heart still beats on the set. The fetus dies as an adult would undergo bodily dismemberment – ​​bleeding to death as its body is torn apart.

Willett said the majority “use vaporous, evasive language to downplay the reality of D&E.”

“Civilized society has long recognized that death and dignity must coincide,” Willett said as he began his opinion. “That’s why we dress for funerals and worship heroes of hospice and palliative care. This is why we take comfort when we learn that a loved one has died peacefully in their sleep; the loss, no less painful, is embellished with comfort knowing that a person who is dear to us did not suffer. This is why babies born before viability are given drugs to facilitate their death. Human dignity should prevail even when, especially when, human life slips away.

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