Nebraska Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions on Babies With Beating Hearts

State   |   Steven Ertelt, Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 23, 2023   |   10:00AM   |   Lincoln, Nebraska

A Nebraska legislative committee has approved a bill to ban abortions on babies with beating hearts. The Nebraska Health and Human Services Committee passed the Nebraska Heartbeat Act (LB 626), sponsored by state Sen. Joni Albrecht.

Her bill would require the abortionist to check for the unborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibit the abortion if the heartbeat is detected, which typically happens by six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed for rape, incest and medical emergencies. Albrecht said her bill does not restrict care for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies or in vitro fertilization and it would ave about 85% of babies who are currently killed in abortions — saving 2,000 babies every single year.

“A heartbeat is a universal sign of life and we know abortions stop a beating heart,” she said.

Currently, aborting an unborn baby is legal for any reason up to 20 weeks in Nebraska. Last year, the unicameral state legislature narrowly failed to pass similar legislation because pro-abortion Democrats filibustered. Legislation needs a two-thirds majority of lawmakers’ support to overcome a Democrat filibuster.

The committee voted 4-2 for the abortion ban and Lynne Walz of Fremont was absent from the vote.

State Sen. Ben Hansen of Blair, who chairs the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, supported the bill.

“I’ve never hidden that I’m a pro-life politician,” Hansen said. “I feel that this will save many innocent lives”

Nebraska Family Alliance, Nebraska Catholic Conference and Nebraska Right to Life all supported the legislation.

“Today Nebraska took a giant step forward in valuing everyone’s rights, regardless of race, belief, socioeconomic status, or age — born and unborn,” said Sandy Danek, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life. “We will save thousands of innocent lives in Nebraska.”

ACTION ALERT: To support this pro-life bill, Contact Nebraska state lawmakers.

A recent WPA Intelligence survey of registered voters revealed 58% of Nebraskans support a bill outlawing abortions once a heartbeat is detected and allows for exceptions of rape, incest and life of the mother.

During the committee hearing on the bill, several doctors testified in favor of the bill and refuted abortion activists’ claims that protecting unborn babies somehow endangers women.

Dr. Robert Bonebrake, an OB-GYN and maternal fetal specialist, said the heartbeat bill protects both mothers’ and unborn babies’ lives, and does not hinder doctors from treating mothers with pregnancy complications, according to the Unicameral Update.

“LB626 lays out the clear standard for protecting a woman’s life and health,” Bonebrake said. “Any physician providing best medical practice is safe under this framework.”

Dr. Courtney Miller, a licensed psychologist from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Counseling Center, told lawmakers about the physical and mental health risks of abortion, including infertility, depression, substance abuse and future preterm births, the report continues.

Miller said the bill “recognizes the human nature of a beating heart and protects both baby and mother from the undeniable traumatic effects of an abortion.”

But pro-abortion activists and lawmakers attacked the bill with claims that women will suffer and die if they cannot abort their unborn babies.

State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, D-District 6, suggested the bill would prevent doctors from treating pregnant mothers suffering medical emergencies until they are “close to death,” according to Courthouse News.

But Albrecht said that is not true. She said the bill allows doctors to decide when to act in such cases.

“They’re experienced. They know if the woman is in trouble,” she said, later adding, “If it were to save a life of the woman, the doctor would make that decision for her.”

Another pro-abortion Democrat, state Sen. Jen Day, D-District 49, even went so far as to accuse Albrecht of not caring if women die.

“Are you okay with knowing that women will die if this bill gets passed?” Day asked.

“I’m not gonna do the whole theater thing, I’m done,” Albrecht replied. “I don’t believe they’re going to die.”

Texas has been enforcing its heartbeat law for more than a year, and 13 other states have had similar pro-life laws in place since last summer. There have not been any reports of women dying because they were denied medical care due to abortion bans. Every abortion ban includes exceptions that allow doctors to protect mothers’ lives, treat ectopic pregnancies and provide care for miscarriages.

The pro-life legislation has a better chance of passing this year. According to Fox 22 WFVX, even abortion activists “have acknowledged that the alliance behind last year’s filibuster may not hold now that the ban includes exceptions for rape and incest.”

Gov. Jim Pillen, a pro-life Republican, recently said he supports the bill.

Because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, 14 states now are enforcing pro-life laws that prohibit or strictly limit the killing of unborn babies in abortions, and others are fighting in court to do the same. Pro-life leaders estimate tens of thousands of babies’ lives already have been saved.

Polls consistently show a strong majority of Americans support legal protections for unborn babies, especially after the first trimester or once their heartbeat is detectable.

ACTION ALERT: To support this pro-life bill, Contact Nebraska state lawmakers.