Ban on D&E abortions advances in Nebraska legislature

Pregnant Credit Syda Productions Shutterstock CNA Syda Productions/Shutterstock.

Nebraska lawmakers on Wednesday, in a contentious vote, gave first-round approval to a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions, which pro-life lawmakers are hoping to pass before the end of legislative session.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference, which has supported the ban since its introduction, hailed the Aug. 5 vote and thanked all those that had prayed and fasted for the success of the bill.

D&E abortions, commonly known as dismemberment abortions, are typically done in the second trimester of pregnancy and result in the dismemberment of an unborn child.

"No human being should be torn apart limb by limb," the conference said.

Senator Suzanne Geist (District 25-Lincoln) introduced LB814 in January, which was co-sponsored by 21 state senators upon introduction, with another four joining later. The measure passed its first vote 34-9.

Multiple senators attempted to filibuster the bill, but the bill earned the 33 votes necessary to break the filibuster as Geist moved to invoke cloture.

Two more votes are required in Nebraska's unicameral legislature before the bill goes to the desk of Gov. Pete Ricketts, who supports the ban. Only four days remain in Nebraska's legislative session.

The bill explicitly prohibits abortionists to use "clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that...slice, crush, or grasp a portion of the unborn child's body to cut or rip it off."

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, to date 11 states have passed bans on dilation and evacuation abortions, though because of courts blocking the measures, the bans in just two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, are currently in effect.

Most recently, a federal judge during July 2019 blocked Indiana's D&E ban from taking effect.

In 2010, Nebraska became the first state to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, citing evidence that unborn children feel pain.

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