LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered in the halls of the Nebraska State Capitol on Wednesday for a commission hearing on the so-called Heartbeat bill, which would ban abortions before many women knew they were pregnant. rushed to.
The bill would prohibit abortion once fetal heart activity is detected, which is generally around the sixth week of pregnancy.
Thurston Republican Senator Joni Albrecht told Congress’ Health and Human Services Committee to begin testifying on her bill on Wednesday. With hundreds of enemies.
Lawmakers opposing the ban are already throwing roadblocks to block the measure. Several people attended a protest held in the Capitol’s rotunda just before Wednesday’s hearing, which drew about 300 people opposed to the ban, including medical professionals and clerics.
Omaha Democratic Senator Megan Hunt, an outspoken opponent of restricting abortion rights, urged the crowd to stay present at each stage of the bill.
“We need constant, long lasting, justified anger. They need to feel your energy. A roar of ‘No more bans!’ followed from someone in the crowd.
Hunt has also lobbied to move the bill from the conservative HHS Commission, where the bill is almost certain to move forward, to the more politically balanced Judiciary Commission. She and other lawmakers argued that the proposal should be heard before the Judiciary Committee because it would criminalize most abortions.
But that effort failed in a legislative vote last week, with proponents of the ban countering that the bill does not include criminal penalties for women undergoing abortions or doctors who perform them. Physicians who perform legal abortions are subject to professional disciplinary action, including revocation of their medical license.
The bill does not list criminal penalties, but several lawmakers said doctors could be held criminally liable under existing state law. This law makes it a felony to perform an abortion not permitted by state law.
“I think prosecutors and possibly juries may decide that if you perform a non-medical abortion, to the point of losing your license, you’re also violating criminal law. Omaha Attorney John Kavanaugh said:
He opened an unsolved case in Norfolk in which prosecutors charged a 41-year-old woman with felony charges for helping her 17-year-old daughter terminate her pregnancy at 24 weeks and giving her a pill to induce an abortion. It pointed out.
“They will look at the law and find a way to prosecute,” Cavanaugh said.
Among those keeping a close eye on the latest attempt to effectively ban abortion in the red states is Omaha’s 35-year-old Casey Ware. The day before the hearing, he detailed how he sought an abortion after being raped and pregnant at 16 by a man twice his age. She started repeating when she was 15. Under the now-proposed ban, she would not have been able to have an abortion, she said. Because she didn’t realize she was pregnant until she was six weeks pregnant.
“I would have done anything to end that pregnancy,” Ware said. “I could have died. What I do know is that banning abortion will not end abortion. It will only end safe abortion.”
If enacted, Nebraska would join several other states that have passed similar cardiac abortion bans, including Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. But Nebraska, which became the first state to ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy in 2010, has recently struggled to enact stricter abortion restrictions.
As soon as the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, anti-abortion lawmakers sought to pass a so-called trigger bill that would automatically ban nearly all abortions, including those resulting from rape and incest. For nearly 50 years, abortion rights have been recognized nationwide. But he was two votes short of the 33 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.
In Nebraska’s officially nonpartisan unicameral legislature, where Democrats hold 17 of the 49 seats, anti-abortion supporters will once again fall short of the overwhelming majority. But abortion rights advocates acknowledge that the alliance behind last year’s filibuster may not hold up now because the ban includes exceptions for rape and incest.