Hearing Held on NE Anti-Choice Bill

A public hearing was held late last week before the judiciary committee of the Nebraska state legislature on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the state. According to ABC News, the committee heard testimony from nineteen doctors, lawyers, and Nebraskans during the nearly four-hour hearing and will decide whether the bill will continue to move through the Nebraska legislature. The bill was introduced in the Nebraska state Legislature in January by Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood (R). Under the bill (see PDF), abortions after the 20th week, would only be permissible “to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” The bill also cites “substantial evidence that abortion methods used at and after twenty weeks would cause substantial pain to an unborn child” as the reason for the ban. Currently, abortion is legal in Nebraska until about the 24th week of pregnancy. Abortion laws in most US states are based on fetal viability, but the current bill seeks to create a new standard based on fetal pain. According to NewsNetNebraska, of the 2,800 abortions performed in Nebraska in 2008, none were performed after 20 weeks. Flood decided to introduce the bill after Dr. Leroy Carhart, a Nebraska abortion provider, announced his intention to continue the work of Dr. George Tiller last summer. Dr. Carhart was a close friend and colleague of Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered in May 2009 at his church. Dr. Tiller was one of the few late abortion providers in the country. Prior to the murder, Dr. Carhart provided late abortions at Tiller’s clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, in Wichita, Kansas.


ABC News 2/25/10; Nebraska LB 1103; NewsNetNebraska 2/26/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 1/27/10

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