Nebraska Abortions Fall to 20-Year Low After Passage of Pro-Life Laws

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2013   |   1:38PM   |   Omaha, NE

Nebraska has seen the number of abortions in the state fall to new lows following the passage of pro-life laws, including one that essentially forced one abortion practitioner to relocate most of his abortion business out of state.

From a local AP report:

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said the number dropped to 2,299 last year, a decline of more than 3 percent. The numbers have dropped consistently since 1992, when more than 5,600 abortions were reported.

The ratio of abortions-to-births has fallen as well. Last year, there were 87.5 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Twenty years earlier, the ratio was 238.4 abortions per 1,000 live births. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services compiles the data but hasn’t explored why the numbers have fallen, said spokeswoman Leah Bucco-White.

The state decline mirrors a national drop in abortions.

Nebraska approved a first-of-its-kind law in 2010 that bans abortions starting at 20 weeks into the pregnancy, based on assertions that fetuses feel pain at that stage of development. Abortion opponents argue studies and testimony from doctors prove fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks gestation.

“I suspect that (the law) continues to drive the numbers of abortions down,” said Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life.

In recent years, lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman have approved laws that prohibit the use of telemedicine to administer abortion drugs and required parental consent for minors. Women must also receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage them from having an abortion, followed by a 24-hour waiting period.



Nebraska Right to Life thinks this 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.

LB 1103 was Nebraska Right to Life’s priority legislation in 2010, sponsored by prioritized by Speaker Mike Flood. The House of Representatives and the state of Texas approved the bill this year in what were national-focused battles.