Graphic testimony in legal challenges to the recently passed federal ban on partial-abortion is revealing the truth about a barbaric practice, asserts a public-interest law firm involved in the cases.

The testimony at three trials – in California, Nebraska and New York – includes descriptions of the dismemberment and decapitation of unborn children moments before live birth, says the Washington, D.C.-based American Center for Law and Justice.

“The testimony of these abortion providers unlocks the door to a secret world of torturous death that includes dismemberment and decapitation of unborn children whose lives are taken by partial-birth abortion,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ.

Abortion-rights activists argue the law, signed in November by President Bush, is so broad it infringes on women’s “right to choose.” The Bush administration argues unborn children feel pain during the “inhumane and gruesome procedure.”

The ACLJ is supporting the Department of Justice in its defense of the ban and attending the trial in New York City.

“The truth about this barbaric procedure is finally coming to light – a horrific and repulsive procedure that clearly underscores the need for this ban on partial-birth abortion,” Sekulow said. “The testimony of the abortion providers is not only revealing gruesome details about a procedure that amounts to infanticide, but is setting the stage for the Department of Justice to prove that this procedure is never medically necessary.”

A physician testified in the San Francisco trial – where Planned Parenthood is challenging the ban – he often must separate the skull of the unborn child from its body during the abortion in order to remove the child from the woman’s body.

The child’s head is the most difficult part of the body to remove, said the doctor, who requested his identity not be revealed.

“Dr. Doe” told U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton he often delivers all of the child’s body with the exception of the head, which remains inside the woman, and then uses scissors to cut the neck and separate the child’s head from the body.

He testified he would then use forceps to crush the head before removing it from the woman’s body.

An abortion provider in the New York City trial testified an unborn child often is dismembered during the procedure and does not immediately die after limbs are pulled off.

The baby remains alive until the head is crushed, he testified in a case in which the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Federation are challenging the ban.

The ACLJ says it will file friend-of-the court briefs representing members of Congress who sponsored the partial-birth abortion ban legislation approved by with wide bi-partisan support.

In San Francisco, a chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood testified she chooses methods that violate the new law because they are among the safest options.

The Associated Press reported Maureen Paul was asked by a government lawyer whether the fetus exhibits pain during the procedures

“I have no idea what you mean,” she replied.

The Partial-Birth Abortion Act is the first substantial limitation on abortion since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.

The three cases are expected to reach the high court.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.