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Legislature Pushing for National Abortion Fight

By   /   March 30, 2010  /   News  /   4 Comments

After watching abortions in Nebraska jump over 13% in 2008, state lawmakers have overwhelmingly taken the first step toward another potential battle before the U.S. Supreme Court.

By a vote of 38-5 the Nebraska Legislature has moved to outlaw abortions 20 weeks after conception based on the argument that at that point in time the fetus can feel pain. Although the bill has to clear two more rounds of debate and be signed by the Governor before it becomes law, there is no indication the legislation will be derailed.

While opponents claim the bill is clearly unconstitutional, Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood who is pushing the legislation said his plan, “doesn’t ban all abortions…and provides a middle ground” in a national debate that is several decades old. 

State Senator Danielle Conrad of Lincoln, the main critic of Flood’s bill, said Nebraska’s legislation goes where no state has successfully gone before. Conrad says the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has already rejected a 20 week old abortion ban adopted in Utah.

According to the latest report from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in 2008 there were 2,813 abortions in the state, 332 more than 2007. The report also notes that 109 of the abortions in 2008 were performed before the fetus reached 20 weeks. The report does not detail when in the gestation period the remaining 2,704 abortions from that year occurred.

During Tuesday’s late night debate State Senator Brad Ashford of Omaha, who describes himself as pro-choice, argued that Flood is right. “There is no question there is fetal pain,” said Ashford, the Chairman of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. According to Ashford, “There is no question a 20 week old fetus can be saved.”

State Senator Brenda Council of Omaha told her fellow lawmakers the bill has no chance of passing constitutional muster. “This bill has so many problems I don’t know where to begin,” said Council.

According to published reports most states including Nebraska ban abortion after a fetus has reached viability, which quite often is the 24th week after conception.

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Reported by Joe Jordan, [email protected]


Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • justin

    I can only hope that this bill fails, i am so tiered of government stepping onto religous grounds and some how making it an agenda of discussion. The short of all this fuss is freedom of choice? I dont agree with a person having multiple abortions, however, I dont have to live with that in my past. I also disagree with a lot of big brothers moves. We have a lot bigger problem in this country than something that unfurtonately creates an income to be taxed and levied. After all isnt that what big brother wants?

  • Tea Party

    God placed that soul in that body, not for any nor the government to kill. Our taxes should not be used for such a crime and it is the biggest issue we face in this world.

  • Texas Annie

    Well, Tea Party, should our taxes be used to help those ‘souls’ neglected by the State of Nebraska at Beatrice? You know who I’m talking about. Eleven died of neglect in 2009 while in the custody of the state. Then, in November, the Unicameral took $10 million of it’s appropriations for the developmentally disabled back into the general fund, during the special session. That money has not been restored this session.

    Curiously though, the Unicameral has already approved a bill through first round debate which, according to it’s fiscal note, “would have a sizeable negative impact on the State’s General Fund” (LB779). The amount of the impact is unknown and will extend many years into the future. It’s the kind of reckless government spending the Tea Party claims to abhor.

    Frankly, I expected Tea Partiers to be up in arms about this new state expenditure, and I have been expecting Right-to-Lifers to clamour for restored appropriations to the developmentally disabled. But I have been watching Nebraska blogs without such satisfaction.

    What do you believe? Is getting more public dollars to the Qwest Center in Omaha and getting new facilities built across the state, now, more important than those ‘souls’ already in the custody of the state? Or is it only the ‘souls’ of fetuses that matter?

  • Judy

    Excuse me, but don’t our Nebraska Senators have something more to do then keep trying to control people. Abortions are legal—leave it alone!! Most of our State Senators are male so they don’t have to worry about having an abortion anyway!