Nebraska Legislature Considers Bill on Violence Against Women, Unborn

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Nebraska Legislature Considers Bill on Violence Against Women, Unborn Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 4, 2005

Omaha, NE ( — If a criminal in Nebraska attacks a pregnant woman and kills her unborn child, he can be charged with two crimes. If he only harms the baby, perhaps leaving the child paralyzed for life, Nebraska law says there is only one crime.

State lawmakers and pro-life groups want to change that.

Sen. Mike Foley, a Republican, has proposed LB57, which would make it a crime to injure an unborn child as a result of an assault on a pregnant woman.

"[I]f the unborn child had lived through the attack and suffered serious bodily injury, the assailant could not be charged with any kind of crime against the unborn child," Foley told the Associated Press about the need for the bill.

The measure has the backing of pro-life groups, including Family First and Nebraska Right to Life.

"From a public policy standpoint, it only makes sense to criminalize not only conduct that takes the life of the unborn child, but also conduct which causes serious bodily injury to the unborn child," said Dave Bydalek, of Family First.

However, abortion advocate oppose the legislation and make the claim that it will overturn a right to legal abortion even though federal law acknowledges two victims as do the laws of dozens of other states.

Bobbie Kierstead of Planned Parenthood told AP that her group "would gladly support legislation to protect pregnant women if that legislation maintained a traditional view of a woman and her fetus as a single legal entity."

The legislative committee of the state’s unicameral legislature is expected to vote on the bill in the next couple of weeks.

Last year, pro-abortion Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha held up a similar version of the bill by filing dozens of reckless amendments designed to prevent the bill from passing.

Nebraska Right to Life Executive Director Julie Schmit-Albin told at the time that the legislature was not able to obtain the 33 votes needed to cut off debate and vote on the bill.

"They [the Senate] practically have to ask Sen. Chambers what legislation they may consider each session," said Schmit-Albin.

Related web sites:
Nebraska Right to Life –
Nebraska Legislature –
Senator Ernie Chambers –