Nebraska abortions are down 10 percent during the first six months of 2011, according to a preliminary report from the state health department, and it appears a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy may be the cause.
Statistics from the Nebraska Health & Human Services Department show a ten percent drop in abortions from January through June compared to the number of abortions done during the same time period in 2010. The totals shows 1,153 abortions so far this year, a drop from the 1,288 abortions done during the first six months of the year prior.
Nebraska Right to Life thinks this ten percent decline is a result of the ban on late abortions based on the scientific evidence showing unborn children feel excruciating pain during an abortion at that point in pregnancy. The ban prompted late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart to largely abandon his Nebraska abortion business and move to Maryland, where he is doing abortions in Germantown, a suburb of the nation’s capital.
“While we will need to see from DHHS the numbers of abortions done in Lancaster, Douglas and Sarpy Counties for those months in each year; it is clear that LeRoy Carhart taking his late term abortion business to Maryland probably has a lot to do with this ten percent decline in abortions in Nebraska,” Julie Schmit-Albin, the executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, told LifeNews. “Legislation does save lives and Carhart admitted when LB 1103 was enacted last fall that he would be forced by the law to do late term abortions out of the State. He is now spending a significant amount of time in Germantown, Maryland doing late term abortions.”
“Once all the statistics are in for 2011 we will be able to gauge just how large Carhart’s late term business was in Nebraska,” she added. “We will continue to work to pass life-saving state laws that buck up against Roe v. Wade.”
LB 1103 was Nebraska Right to Life’s priority legislation in 2010, sponsored by prioritized by Speaker Mike Flood. The legislation, drafted by Mary Spaulding Balch of National Right to Life, has been approved in Oklahoma, Alabama, Kansas and Idaho in 2011 and has become a model for the country.
Despite passage in several states, abortion advocates have not filed and lawsuits challenging the pro-life laws in court, as pro-life advocates hoped. Part of the legal strategy behind the bills, other than banning late abortions, involves getting the Supreme Court to further chip away against Roe by upholding the ban and validating the concept of fetal pain — a first step in getting the court to overturn Roe v. Wade entirely when the majority of the court switches away from the current pro-abortion majority.
Nebraska also approved a bill to ban telemed or webcam abortions in the state and a bill in 2009 to allow women a chance to see an ultrasound prior to the abortion.