Abortion advocates challenge ban signed into law last November

LifeSite NewsJudge Richard C. Casey did not let partial-birth abortionist Dr. Timothy Johnson off easy. In court testimony March 31 challenging the constitutionality of the partial-birth abortion ban, Casey grilled Johnson about the grisly procedure.

Partial-birth abortions often necessitate dismemberment of a live baby while his head remains entrenched in the womb. Judge Casey asked Johnson, “Does the fetus feel pain?” Johnson replied that he was not sure and was “not familiar” with any research that suggested he does feel pain.

A doctor who testified a day earlier said that a baby does not necessarily die after his limbs are torn off. Casey pressed Johnson about whether he ever thought about the pain inflicted on the child during the procedure.

“Simple question, doctor,” Casey said. “Does it cross your mind?” Johnson replied in the negative. “Never crossed your mind?” the judge repeated. “No,” Johnson replied.

The partial-birth abortion ban is being challenged simultaneously in three lawsuits – in New York, Lincoln, Neb. and San Francisco – instigated by seven Planned Parenthood abortionists.

Casey also wanted to know if women were informed that their child would be dismembered before dying. “So you tell her the arms and legs are pulled off?” he asked. “I mean, that’s what I want to know. Do you tell her?”

“We tell her the baby, the fetus, is dismembered as part of the procedure, yes,” Johnson replied.

Casey also wanted to know if women were informed that the abortion involved “sucking the brain out of the skull.”

“I don’t think we would use those terms,” Johnson replied. “I think we would probably use a term like ‘decompression of the skull’ or ‘reducing the contents of the skull.'”

Casey said, “Make it nice and palatable so that they wouldn’t understand what it’s all about?”

Johnson said that he would not want to be insensitive. “We try to do it in a way that’s not offensive or gruesome or overly graphic for patients.”

U.S. Department of Justice attorney Sean Lane was in court to defend the ban. He told Casey that the U.S. Congress had spent eight years studying the procedure before passing the ban, which was passed in both Houses by wide margins.