Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fetal pain bill (LB 1103) passes

Lincoln---The Nebraska Legislature may have changed the course of the nation's abortion debate ...with its 44 to 5 passage today of LB 1103, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, said Julie Schmit-Albin, Executive Director of Nebraska Right to Life (the state affiliate to the National Right to Life Committee.)

"The Nebraska Legislature took a bold step today which should ratchet up the abortion debate across America." said Schmit-Albin. "LB 1103 bans abortion at 20 weeks gestation based on medical documentation that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain at that point and beyond. What we didn't know in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was foisted upon the nation; we know now through the technological advances of in-utero surgery and 4-D ultrasound. Nebraska has a compelling interest in protecting unborn babies who feel pain at this gestation because we have a late term abortionist, LeRoy Carhart, performing abortions through at least 24 weeks here."

Expert testimony regarding the unborn feeling pain by at least 20 weeks gestation was presented by four physicians at LB 1103's committee hearing on February 25th. The doctors were specialists in anestheology and maternal/fetal health. A constitutional law expert also testified on behalf of LB 1103. An exception is allowed under the law for a medical emergency for the pregnant woman to avert death or avert a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, said Schmit-Albin.

"Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood, like many Nebraskans, was very troubled when he heard that Carhart wanted to become the go-to late term abortionist of the Midwest after George Tiller's death last summer." said Schmit-Albin. "Carhart moonlighted with Tiller for ten years in Wichita, Kansas. Speaker Flood was in a position to do something to ensure that Nebraska does not become the late term abortion capital of the Midwest and we thank him for his diligence and leadership in introducing and prioritizing LB 1103."

"For years LeRoy Carhart has thumbed his nose at Nebraska's outdated post viability statute which contains a health exception you could drive a Mack truck through." said Schmit-Albin. "LB 1103 creates a case of first impression for the courts to acknowledge the capability to feel pain as a compelling state interest to protect those unborn babies from an excruciatingly painful death. The more narrowly defined medical emergency exception with an objective standard should go a long way towards closing the loopholes in current Nebraska statute."

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