A Texas law prohibiting a ‘most common’ standard abortion procedure that prevents second-trimester pregnancies, was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th circuit. This overturns a 2020 ruling, which was led by a group of three judges in the same court.
This outcome represents the first time the “most common” method of abortion “used after 15 weeks of pregnancy” has been banned by a U.S. federal court, although Reuters reports that some states “have acted to outlaw it.”
The Method is known as dilation and evacuation (D&E), whereby a suction machine and forceps are used to evacuate foetal tissue from the woman’s cervix, as a “dismemberment abortion,” which according to Reuters is a “non-medical term” shunned by medical professionals.
For a while, it had looked like the Texas law would be annulled. Also according to Reuters, a group of three judges from the 5th Circuit had endorsed abortion rights activists “in affirming a 2017 lower-court opinion” that annulled the Texas law, provisionally preventing it from being imposed. The judges’ ruling had maintained that the statute “unduly burdens a woman’s constitutionally protected right” to stop her pregnancy before the foetus’s viability takes form.
However, in January of this year, the entire 17-member 5th Circuit, operating in response to an “appeal” from Texas, conducted another hearing for this case, annulling this ruling and ultimately enforcing the Texas law.
Physicians who fail to abide by this law, run the risk of up to two years imprisonment.
The Texas statute was supported by nine judges from the appeals court, but five judges disagreed with it and three decided to step down from the case.
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What does this Law mean?
The abortion law prohibits D&E abortion methods unless the physician conducts a singular, extra procedure to exterminate the foetus in the woman’s body before carrying out a D&E.
Those who are backing the law, believe its enforced limitations stop foetus’s from experiencing pain. But appellate Judge James Dennis, says there is “little merit in this argument.”
According to Dennis, the law would cause women to needlessly experience “painful, invasive, expensive, and in some cases experimental additional treatments” that give “significantly elevated risks to the women’s health and well-being.”
Dennis also pointed out that influential medical organisations, such as the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, have confirmed that it is not possible for a foetus to experience pain prior to 24 weeks of gestation.
The case of preventing foetal pain serves very little purpose, with The Atlantic reporting that a “significant majority” of states have banned abortion from 22 weeks of gestation to viability, which is mostly after 24 weeks. Thus, the conclusion appears inescapable: This law is not only inefficient in preventing foetal suffering, but it also harshly confines women’s options in pursuing an abortion.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com.— In the Featured Photo: Gavel on black background. Featured Photo Credit: Bill Oxford