State Senator Joni Albrecht of Thurston held a press conference at the Nebraska State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 11, detailing the proposed abortion ban, including exceptions for maternal life, rape and incest.
Twenty-eight colleagues joined her, including Sen. Mike Jacobson of North Platt.
Albrecht’s Nebraska Heartbeat Act and Nebraska Pregnancy Help Act cut access to abortion from 20 weeks to about six weeks. As of Friday, January 13th, it had not yet been introduced.
The second measure provides up to $10 million to encourage donations to 25 pregnancy support organizations statewide that provide education, food, supplies, transportation, housing, and job assistance to expectant mothers. Offer tax deductions.
“Every parent remembers hearing their child’s heart beat for the first time,” Albrecht said. “Heartbeat is a universal sign of life, and we also know that abortion stops the heartbeat.”
“For a young woman, that (first) heartbeat is very frightening,” Albrecht said. Staff and volunteers from pregnancy support organizations walk with her through her flood of emotions.
There are 25 pregnancy support organizations in every corner of the state, and free services will help women every step of the way, she said.
Abortion is prohibited for as early as six weeks, when the sporadic electrical impulses that create a heartbeat-like rhythmic pulse, sometimes called a “fetal heartbeat,” can be detected.
Your doctor will need to perform an ultrasound to hear the fetal heartbeat. If a heartbeat is detected, doctors are prohibited from aborting a live fetus.
A year ago, Albrecht introduced decriminalizing abortion. The bill did not pass. Criticized for affecting ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, or in vitro fertilization (IVF), Albrecht said the new bill would specify that these would not be affected.
State Senator Julie Surama of Dunbar introduced a similar bill in 2022, but it stalled on committee.
Dr. Robert Plambeck of the Lincoln-based OB-GYN joined Albrecht at a press conference and said nothing in the bill would prevent him from providing life-saving care to his mother.
“Biologically and medically, there is no question that these two are separate people,” says Plambeck, a 35-year specialist. “They have their own heartbeats. They have their own genetic makeup. They have their own medical needs. They say he’s two separate human beings, both caring and professional. deserve proper medical care.”
Physicians performing abortions under the bill would not face criminal charges, but could have their licenses revoked. A woman who seeks an abortion will not be punished.
All but one of the senators in attendance Wednesday, Omaha Sen. Mike McDonnell, were Republicans. His four other Republicans — Senator Tom Brandt of Plymouth, Senator Myron Dorne of Adams, Ben Hansen of Blair, and Rep. John Arch of La Vista — supported Albrecht’s 2022 bill, So did McDonnell.
If those four, and all those present, voiced their support, Albrecht would receive 33 votes, enough to overcome the filibuster and become law. Opponents, however, say it is too early to start counting votes and are confident they can block the effort.
“We’ve thwarted abortion bans in the past here in Nebraska, and there’s no doubt we can do it again,” Omaha Senator Megan Hunt said after a news conference.
Lincoln Senator Daniel Conrad said, “I’m always optimistic that people will open up and open their minds” to discussing and understanding what abortion restrictions have done in our sister states. said.
“It has hurt medical practice, hurt the citizens of our state, and has had a chilling effect on many unintended consequences. .
After the press conference, Lincoln’s Conrad, Hunt, and state senator George Dungan discussed what the ban would mean, especially for women of color and low-income earners, or those living in rural areas of the state. explained.
Hunt said many women were “forced” to become pregnant, face medical emergencies, and may leave the state for care.
“It’s cruel,” said Hunt. “It’s ruthless and doesn’t reflect Nebraska values.”
Dungan said Wednesday’s announcement has seen politicians block women’s health care decisions. Told.
“I still consider myself a young person. In conversations with my friends and others in my area, I find myself saying that laws like this make them want to leave. The fourth-youngest in Congress: “I think more people will leave and fewer people will enter if a law like this is passed.”
Albrecht said a statewide poll showed that 58 percent of Nebraska voters support laws that protect fetuses from the moment a heartbeat is detected.
Hunt has already introduced LR18CA and LR19CA to determine whether voters should amend the Nebraska Constitution to protect reproductive freedoms and prevent future restrictions.
Conrad introduced LR20CA with Omaha’s Hunt and State Senator Machaela Kavanaugh to help voters decide whether individual privacy rights should be included in the Nebraska Constitution.
Prepare for future possibilities
How senators will approach the issue once the bill is formally introduced, or what tools senators can use to block the bill if it maintains this level of support. We don’t know yet, but Albrecht said the woman should be prepared.
“Hopefully before the bill is passed,[women]will understand that this is a six-week ban and that they should seek professional help if they feel they are about to give birth.”
( North Platt Bulletin Contributed to this report. )
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