A pro-life lawmaker led the Nebraska Senate in a moment of silence for aborted babies Tuesday as senators debated a bill to protect the unborn from brutal dismemberment abortions.
The Omaha World-Herald reports many lawmakers were emotional as they discussed whether to advance the pro-life bill.
Among them was state Sen. John Lowe, of Kearney. He held a moment of silence for the babies who have been killed in abortions during his time to speak, according to the report.
In 2018, there were 2,078 abortions on unborn babies in Nebraska, according to the state health department. Of those, 32 were aborted by dilation and evacuation (D&E), which typically involves dismembering a nearly fully developed unborn baby while their heart is still beating.
The Dismemberment Abortion Ban (LB 814) introduced by state Sen. Suzanne Geist, of Lincoln, was stuck in committee this spring. In a 30-8 vote Tuesday, the legislature agreed to move it to the floor for debate, according to the report.
The pro-life bill would prohibit abortion procedures that use clamps, forceps or similar instruments to remove pieces of a living unborn baby from his/her mother’s womb. These abortions typically are referred to as dilation and evacuation, or D&E, and are common in the second trimester when unborn babies are nearly fully developed. The ban does not apply to unborn babies who are already dead.
Doctors who violate the ban would face fines and felony charges.
The legislature needs 33 votes to overcome a filibuster, which some Democrat lawmakers have promised to do, and the legislative session is nearly over.
Geist said saving unborn babies deserves to be a top priority.
“I believe that discussion of human dignity belongs at the top of that list,” she said. “It’s more important to me than tax credits. How we as a society treat the vulnerable and defenseless is worthy of a hearing, and worthy of our debate.”
Gov. Pete Ricketts, a pro-life Republican, also supports the legislation.
Writing at the Hastings Tribune, he said: “The barbaric procedure literally rips apart a preborn child, piece-by-piece, to destroy the life of the baby. This summer, senators can put a stop to this ruthless way of performing an abortion by passing this important bill.”
Dismemberment is a common second-trimester abortion method in which an unborn baby is typically pulled apart limb from limb while their heart is still beating. In the second trimester, unborn babies are nearly fully formed, and strong scientific evidence indicates they can feel pain.
Eleven states have passed laws to ban dismemberment abortions: Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky and North Dakota. However, the abortion industry is challenging many of them in court.