UPDATE March 30: The bill won 1st round, 38-5.
“Torture is routinely condemned, even when used against our worst enemies in a time of war. How can society continue to justify the “right” to torture defenseless babies in the womb with the rhetoric that women need abortion for them to be full and equal members of American society?”
Six states — Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah — already require that pregnant women be told an abortion could cause pain, but Nebraska would be the first to restrict abortion due to pain. Anesthesia specialists were scheduled to present medical confirmation of the unborn’s sensitivity to pain.
The Kansas 2010 House schedule of upcoming bills lists a similar prohibition for late abortions done for the mother’s “mental health.” HB 2166 from Rep. Steve Huebert (R-Valley Center) would permit abortions after viability only to save the life or physical health of the mother. (Viability is defined in Kansas law as the ability of the unborn child to live outside the mother with or without medical assistance, as ascertained at 22 weeks pregnancy.)
Both the Nebraska and Kansas measures are bolstered by the 2007 Gonzales ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Gonzales banned partial-birth abortions without allowing for “health exceptions” and reasserted the rights of state legislatures to regulate abortions.
The Nebraska measure includes language citing the state’s interest in preventing pain as exhibited in laws governing the use of laboratory animals and laws requiring pain-free methods of slaughtering livestock.
Speaker of the Legislature, Mike Flood, introduced the measure saying, “With Dr. Leroy Carhart performing and advertising such late-term abortions here in Nebraska, the state needs to recognize the reality of what’s going on.”
Carhart still retains his Kansas medical license, even after the Kansas medical board said 6 years of illegal post-viability abortions had occurred at George Tiller’s (now-closed) Wichita abortion clinic, where Carhart worked. Carhart’s license was renewed just weeks prior to Tiller’s death. Carhart claimed he was planning to reopen a late-abortion business in Kansas, but no evidence of that has yet surfaced.
Bill 1103 would allow abortions after 20 weeks for life-threatening medical emergencies or “to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” (In Kansas, no late abortions have ever been recorded as performed to save the life of the mother.)