Nebraska Bill to Stop Mandatory School Abortion Counseling Advances
by Steven Ertelt
February 3, 2004
Lincoln, NE (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life bill that would stop mandatory abortion counseling in schools has advanced to a final vote. Following the legislature’s initial approve of the bill, Gov. Mike Johanns signaled that he supports the bill and will sign it if it passes.
The bill, LB 1782, prohibits Nebraska public schools from making information available to students about how to obtain an abortion without parental involvement.
It would repeal a state law requiring school nurses to tell teenagers in grades seven through twelve how to use the judicial bypass in the state’s parental notification law to obtain an abortion without their parents’ knowledge.
Lawmakers gave the bill a 38-4 vote on the first vote and 35-4 on the second vote on Tuesday.
Johanns’ spokeswoman Terri Teuber said Johanns will sign the bill into law if it passes. Nebraska Right to Life executive director Julie Schmit-Albin says she thinks the bill will pass again on the third and final vote.
The Nebraska Association of School Boards and the Nebraska State Board of Education joined pro-life advocates in opposing the mandatory counseling law.
Pro-life groups have long been concerned that school nurses provide teens with information about abortion when the young women confide in the nurse about an unplanned pregnancy.
Congressional lawmakers are considering legislation, the Child Custody Protection Act, that protects teenage girls and their parents’ interests by prohibiting the taking of teens to another state to circumvent parental notification laws. Some school nurses have provided transportation to teenage girls to violate the laws.
Lincoln Sen. Mike Foley, the bill sponsor, was able to secure enough votes to stop pro-abortion Sen. Ernie Chambers from filibustering the bill. Chambers spent the entire first day of the session’s floor debate preventing the legislature from voting on the bill.
"For those who seek it, there is a wealth of information (about judicial bypass) on the Internet and in the phone book," Foley said. "The mandate is a nuisance to schools. They’ve been trying to get rid of it for 12 years."
An amendment by Sen. DiAnna Schimek of Lincoln to gut the bill and replace it with the current pro-abortion law failed prior to the first vote.
Nebraska was the only state in the nation with such a law making the secret abortion information available. Michigan had a similar law but repealed it after two years.