A Nebraska Methodist pastor slammed pro-life advocates in a recent interview, claiming their “pro-birth” mission has “corrupted” Christians into thinking aborting unborn babies should be illegal.
Nebraska News Connection reports the Rev. Debra McKnight, founding pastor of Urban Abbey Methodist Church in Omaha, made the comment as state lawmakers prepare to debate a heartbeat bill Thursday. The pro-life bill would protect unborn babies by banning most elective abortions once their heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy.
McKnight claimed pro-life lawmakers do not really care about children or families. She argued that if they did care, they would pass bills to make childcare more affordable and improve maternal health care, according to the report. These are things many pro-life states already are doing.
“I would want to be clear that Christianity has a diversity of voices, and you don’t have to understand this ‘pro-birth’ narrative as the only appropriate Christian response,” the Methodist pastor said.
McKnight claimed pro-life advocates have “corrupted” Christians, especially evangelicals, into thinking abortions are wrong, the report continues.
ACTION ALERT: To support this important pro-life legislation, Contact Nebraska state senators.
She also erroneously claimed the heartbeat bill could jeopardize medical care for miscarriages. However, the bill only prohibits elective abortions; treatments for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and other conditions that put the pregnant mother at risk are allowed under the bill — and every other abortion restriction in the country.
Medical professionals confirmed this in testimony to state lawmakers earlier this year. During a February hearing, 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.”
Even with these clear protections, however, McKnight still opposes the bill. In February, she joined more than 100 other clergy members with the Nebraska Religious Council for Reproductive Freedom in signing onto a newspaper ad urging voters to oppose the life-saving bill.
The Nebraska Heartbeat Act (LB 626), sponsored by state Sen. Joni Albrecht, R-Thurston, is scheduled for debate Thursday on the Senate floor. If it passes, Nebraska would become the 16th state to protect unborn babies from abortion.
Currently, aborting unborn babies is legal for any reason up to 20 weeks. In 2021, 2,360 unborn babies were aborted and nearly two thirds were later than six weeks of pregnancy, according to the state health department.
State pro-life advocates also are urging Nebraskans to contact their senators and encourage them to support the bill. Nebraska has a single-body state legislature, and the bill appears to have just enough votes (a two-thirds majority) to overcome pro-abortion Democrats’ planned filibuster and pass.
A January poll by WPA Intelligence found 58 percent of Nebraskans support protecting an unborn baby with a beating heart from abortion.