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Time to raise Nebraska's standard of care

The United States is at a pivotal point in its history. Deliberations for the historic Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization have spurred a national conversation about the future of abortion. Many states, including Nebraska, are reckoning with their abortion laws.

Nebraskans—always leaders in the pro-life movement—are ready to relegate abortion-on-demand to the past and more fully embrace preborn children and their mothers. But they will need special help from their Legislature. Thanks to three determined senators, this session the Legislature will deliberate a heartbeat bill, a bill that would prohibit abortions if and when Roe is overturned, and a bill that addresses the unsafe practices of those offering chemical abortions in Nebraska.

On the first day of the 2022 session, Senator Julie Slama introduced LB781, the Heartbeat Act. This bill would require an ultrasound before any abortion is attempted to determine whether a fetal heartbeat is present. Standard embryology textbooks state that a preborn baby’s heart begins to beat at 22-23 days after conception. Under this bill, if a fetal heartbeat is detected, an abortion may not be performed.

Abortion is currently prohibited at 20-weeks post-fertilization in Nebraska. In 2020 alone, the Heartbeat Act, had it been law, it would have saved more than 2,000 preborn lives, or 85% of the children aborted in that year.

LB781, consistent with Nebraska’s current laws and all three pro-life bills introduced this session, would hold abortionists responsible—never those vulnerable women seeking an abortion.

The Human Life Protection Act, proposed by Senator Joni Albrecht, is another historic bill the Legislature will consider in 2022. While the Supreme Court considers the Dobbs case, which will likely be decided in June, we at home hope and pray fervently for a favorable decision that would return authority to the states to protect preborn life. In anticipation of this, 11 states have already passed measures protecting life from the moment of conception that will go into effect if and when Roe is overturned. The Human Life Protection Act would do the same.

Finally, Senator Suzanne Geist has unveiled a bill that would address the long-neglected issue of unsafe chemical abortion practices. The abortion industry prioritizes its profits well ahead of the welfare of the women who come to them.

There is no limit on when abortionists can prescribe abortion drugs—and many do so well beyond the FDA’s 10-week cap—even though multiple studies show these drugs have an increasing rate of failure and risk, especially for hemorrhage and potentially fatal infections, after the 7-week mark. And since complications reporting requirements are practically nonexistent, we have no idea how many women in our state are experiencing these harms.

Further, some women report coaching—or manipulation—by abortion providers and drug companies. Many are told that if they have complications, they should lie to medical staff at the emergency room and tell them they are experiencing a miscarriage. This leaves health care professionals without the information they need to treat these women properly, and covers the tracks of the abortionist.

This lack of regulation is cruel and concerning. Required follow-up visits after an abortion, strengthened reporting requirements for complications, and a halt on abortion drugs by mail are three of the biggest features of the Chemical Abortion Safety Protocol Act.

At the heart of all three of these proposed bills is one word: Care. Do we care enough to protect a child whose heart is already beating? Do we care enough for the most vulnerable among us to protect them from lethal violence? Do we care enough to stop predatory, profit-driven companies from exploiting the vulnerable men, women, and children in our communities?

It is time to raise Nebraska’s standard of care. Women and families deserve better than what abortion has to offer, and we can do better than abandon them to abortion. Nebraskans are ready to do whatever we can to make sure everyone in our state, born and preborn, is protected in law and welcomed in life.

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