Nebraska Lawmakers Will Begin Debate Monday on Unborn Victims Bill
by Steven Ertelt
January 8, 2006
Lincoln, NE (LifeNews.com) — 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 and debate will begin on Monday on legislation to change the law.
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 explains.
Foley’s bill has drawn more attention following the death of a North Platte woman who was 8 1/2 months pregnant when she was killed and dismembered, according to an AP report.
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 advocates 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.
During the last two years, 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 LifeNews.com 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.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your member of the Nebraska legislature and encourage strong support for LB 57. Tell your elected officials to do whatever is necessary to pass the bill this time.
Related web sites:
Nebraska Right to Life – https://nebraskartl.org
Nebraska Legislature – https://www.unicam.state.ne.us
Senator Ernie Chambers – https://www.unicam.state.ne.us/senators/district11.htm