Should Dismemberment be Legal?

¿Debería ser legal el desmembramiento?

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
July 15, 2013

Public opinion about abortion in America can best be described as ambivalent: uncomfortable with unrestricted abortion, yet unwilling to ban it totally.

Public opinion has remained pretty stable since Roe vs. Wade. One time it did move was when partial-birth abortion was being debated publicly in the late 90’s.  People became more willing to identify with the pro-life position, because the debate focused on abortion itself, rather than on abstract arguments about freedom and choice.

And that was the first time since Roe vs. Wade that our movement succeeded in actually prohibiting an abortion procedure in many states and on a federal level.

For the last decade, I have been arguing that we can do this again by focusing on other forms of late-term abortion, particularly on the “D and E” dismemberment procedure. Hence, Priests for Life started, some years ago, the “Stop D and E” campaign (see

Now, in the wake of the Gosnell case, this is beginning to gain momentum, and in fact the US House of Representatives has passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which aims to protect children from abortion after 20 weeks fetal age.

In a June 13 press briefing, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic leader, was unable to answer a question about the reality of late-term abortion. I then wrote her an open letter rebuking her for her failure to do so. (You can read and sign on to the letter at One of the reasons I wrote this letter is that we all have to answer the question that was posed to her: What is the difference between killing the same child after birth or just before birth?

Now that the House of Representatives is on record, thanks to the recent vote, regarding dismemberment abortion after 20 weeks, and now that the unwillingness of abortion supporters to deal with this has been raised through the Pelosi letter, Priests for Life is going to take a further step.

Though the pro-abortion leadership in the United States Senate will want to avoid a vote on the Pain-Capable Act, we are going to put them on record anyway. Each US Senator will be asked whether dismembering a child in the womb should be permitted.

Priests for Life will visit the Senators’ offices with diagrams of the procedure and pose that question. Actually, we have done so before, but this time we will add a new twist. Before we go to their offices, we will go to their constituents, including all of you, and invite you to join us in asking the question. When we go to the Senators’ offices, we will say, “We, and thousands of people in your state, are coming to you with a question. And we will announce your answer to all the people in your state.”

This indeed is the time to ask every public official, and in fact every American, this same question. Let’s go beyond the all-encompassing question of “Should abortion be allowed?” and ask, “Should this specific procedure, in which a child’s arms and legs are ripped off, and head crushed, be allowed?”

I am convinced this issue will mobilize both pro-life and pro-choice citizens to bring an end to late-term abortion. Yes, every abortion is wrong at every stage, and we will end all of it. But we do so by leading people from the more obvious to the less obvious.

Let us know if you want to use your name as we visit your US Senators with this important question. Sign up at!


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Ron & Mary Kramer says:
7/15/2013 3:44:04 PM
Please go and ask every U.S. Senator whether or not dismemberment should be allowed. I look forward to seeing the answers obtained. We asked our US Congress Representative Andre Carson from Indianapolis Indiana the following:

Dear Representative Carson,

We are sure you get a lot of e-mail, you have sent us the same information on the 21st and the 24th of June (see below). We’ll respectfully repeat our unanswered question.

Given your stated positions below, why didn’t you support HR1797, making illegal late term abortions with an exception for the life of the mother? Note: beyond 20 weeks the baby is viable outside the womb, science shows the baby can feel pain during dismemberment, and the danger to the mother becomes so great the procedure should never be performed. Please answer the question.

Thank--you. We love you. We are praying for you.
God Bless You!
Ron & Mary Kramer MEV

We have not received a reply to our third request for explanation.

The following was Representative Carson's reply on both the 21st and the 24th.

June 24, 2013

Ron Kramer
8931 Indian Creek Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46259-1334

Dear Mr. Kramer:

Thank you for contacting me to voice your opinion regarding abortion. The opinions and concerns of my fellow Hoosiers are essential to the decision making process as a Member of Congress.
Since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1972, abortion has become one of our nation's most divisive issues. While I support a woman's right to choose, I also believe that every effort should be made to reduce the frequency of abortions. That is why I supported the Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act, which will increase funding programs that seek to reduce teen pregnancy, educate about adoption, and otherwise minimize requests for abortions. I sincerely hope that this legislation will help all Americans find common ground on this issue.
I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue and I hope you will continue to contact my office on future issues. I encourage you to visit my website at where you can view the latest news and updates about pertinent issues and legislation important to you, or follow me on Twitter @RepAndreCarson. You may also sign up for my weekly e-newsletter The Carson Courier to receive periodic updates on my activities in Indianapolis and in Washington, D.C. As always, my staff and I are here to serve you. Please feel free to contact me if we ever can be of further assistance to you.

Andre Carson
Member of Congress


Priests for Life
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