The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down Kentucky’s ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, which is when the abortionist completes the procedure by dismembering the preborn baby. 

In 2018, Kentucky’s legislature passed House Bill 454 under the leadership of former Governor Matt Bevin. The bill banned D&E abortion, which is usually performed between 13-24 weeks of pregnancy.

As Gov. Bevin explained in a statement made last year, “HB 454 does not prohibit dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions. However, it does ban the type of D&E abortion procedure that causes fetal death through the process of live dismemberment. The graphic procedure involves the use of forceps to forcibly rip the unborn living child apart piece by piece, usually resulting in the unborn bleeding to death during the dismemberment process.

“The new law prohibits the dismemberment of an unborn child while he or she is still alive and requires the more humane practice of ensuring fetal demise before the limbs are ripped from the body and removed from the womb.”

The 6th Circuit disagreed with this commonsense piece of legislation, voting 2-1 to uphold the decision made by a lower court.

In the decision, the majority wrote, “In nearly every state, plaintiffs have challenged those laws as unduly burdening the right to elect abortion before viability, as plaintiffs have done here. And in every challenge brought to date, the court has enjoined the law, finding that it indeed unduly burdens that right.”

The lawsuit was brought by EMW Women’s Clinic in Louisville, which is the state’s only abortion clinic.

This decision, though not surprising, is unfortunate.

While it would be preferable if abortion was illegal in this country, a ban on D&E abortions is a sensible limitation. A D&E abortion is a barbaric procedure that requires abortionists to dismember a preborn baby while he or she is still alive and then rearrange the remains on a tray to determine if the abortion was successful. Even criminals on death row are treated with more humanity.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world that allows elective abortion procedures in the second and third trimester. For example, France and Belgium only allow abortion on demand until the 12th week of pregnancy. In fact, most of Europe limits abortion to around the first trimester of pregnancy, with The Netherlands being the only notable outlier.

In comparison, the U.S. policies on abortion have more in common with China and North Korea than it does with the rest of the world.

Instead of trying to protect the barbaric D&E procedure, which dismembers a living and developing preborn baby, the abortionists and activists should try to emulate Europe and not some of the most repressive governments in the world.

Although this is a setback, passionate pro-life activists in Kentucky and across the country remain dedicated to pushing legislation that protects the lives of preborn babies wherever possible.