PIERRE, S.D. — Lawmakers in South Dakota rejected a bill on Thursday that would have banned the practice of dismembering and decapitating babies during abortion procedures.
H.B. 1241 was struck down by an 11-1 vote, including three of its sponsors who decided to table the measure.
The legislation provided criminal penalties for any doctor who intentionally injured an unborn child, and in some cases, placing them behind bars for life.
“No licensed physician may knowingly dismember a living unborn child with the intent of endangering the life or health of the child,” it read. “A violation of this section is a Class 2 felony. If a violation of this section involves the separation of the skull from the spine, then the penalty is a Class B felony.”
The legislation also outlined that the term dismember was defined as using any “instrument or procedure for the purpose of disconnecting any bones at their joint, completely severing any bones, or removing any organs or limbs, including the spinal cord, arms, legs, and internal organs.”
“It just makes clear that a certain procedure that is totally horrific and gruesome to any reasonable person would not be an acceptable method of ending a child’s life, and that is to dismember or decapitate a living, unborn child,” sponsor Isaac Latterell (R-Tea) told the Argus Leader.
Latterell also wrote in a blog post that while the bill does not outlaw abortion altogether, he believes many practices are inhumane and must be exposed.
“Imagine discovering that it was actually a veterinarian who regularly ripped the heads off of puppies and crushed their skulls. It would be hard to decide whether to call the police or to deal with the veterinarian yourself,” he wrote. “Now suppose you discovered that doctors regularly ripped the heads off of babies and tore apart their limbs while they were still alive. What would you do?”
“I will not sit silently by as our children’s lives are devalued to a place lower than dogs,” Latterell pledged.
But Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute said that the bill served as a back door means to effectively end abortion.
“It looks like it’s trying to ban abortion using language that is completely unfamiliar and very inflammatory,” she told the Huffington Post.
“Of course, pro-abortion groups say the bill is ‘inflammatory,’” Jennifer Mason of the pro-life group Personhood USA told reporters. “But why isn’t it the actual killing of innocent unborn babies that is inflammatory?”
“The text of the bill should be required reading for everyone in the country,” she stated. “[It’s] what abortionists do to babies everyday in America.”
The majority of abortion procedures involve dismembering unborn children, including during the first trimester, where suction aspiration tears the baby into pieces through force.
As previously reported, last May, Dr. Anthony Levantino, a former abortionist who performed over 1,000 abortions during his tenure, also testified before Congress regarding the procedure used during a second trimester abortion, known as dilation and evacuation.
“Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can,” he said. “Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard—really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long.”
“Reach in again and again with that clamp,” Levantino continued, “and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.”
“Many times a little face will come out and stare back at you,” he recalled.
The lone lawmaker to vote in favor of the South Dakota measure was Representative Manny Steele (R-Sioux Falls).