Federal Appeals Court Considers Texas Law Banning 'Dismemberment Aboritons'

A federal appeals court is considering the legality of the latest attempt by the conservatives who dominate state government to restrict abortions in the state, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

In 2017, lawmakers approved a bill to outlaw what is called 'Dilation and Evacuation,' or D and E abortion, which is the most common procedure.  It involves a physician using forceps to remove fetal tissue.

Right to Life groups refer to it as 'dismemberment abortion,' and Marc Rylander, the spokesman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, calls it 'barbaric.'

"Our legal team exposed the horrific truth of dismemberment abortions," Rylander said.  "A gruesome, inhumane, and barbaric procedure."

The appeals court is considering the state's appeal of a ruling by a federal judge in Austin to throw out the law as an unconstitutional restriction on a woman's legal right to undergo an abortion.

Amy Hagstrom-Miller, who runs Whole Women's Health, a statewide chain of abortion clinics, says the law essentially tells a physician how to perform a legal procedure.

"The state is inserting itself and trying to make abortion more difficult for women to access," she said.  "Really it a ban on abortion in general, and really a back door way to reduce a woman's access to abortion in the state of Texas."

Like many states where the governorship and both houses of the legislature are controlled by Republicans, Texas has passed several measures, with limited success in the courts, to 'eat away' at Roe vs Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion.

Texas lawmakers have approved bills requiring abortion facilities to meet the more stringent standards of emergency rooms, required doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and mandating the burial or creation of fetal remains.  All or part of many of these laws have been thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rylander says the courts should uphold the ban on 'dismemberment abortion.'

"We demonstrated that Senate Bill 8 is constitutional, and we are optimistic that the Appeals Court will uphold Texas' lawful authority," he said.

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