Nebraska's Senate voted 38 to 5 on an abortion bill which will affect how long into a pregnancy abortion is legal, based on the fetus's possible ability to feel pain. According to the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska's current abortion law was based on fetal viability, which begins around 24 weeks after fertilization.
The current bill was introduced in the Nebraska state Legislature in January by Speaker Mike Flood (R). Under the bill, abortions after the 20th week would only be permissible "to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function." The bill also cites "substantial evidence that abortion methods used at and after 20 weeks would cause substantial pain to an unborn child" as the reason for the ban.
Flood decided to introduce the bill after Dr. Leroy Carhart, a Nebraska abortion provider, announced his intention to continue the work of Dr. George Tiller last summer. Dr. Carhart was a close friend and colleague of Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered in May 2009 at his church. Dr. Tiller was one of the few late abortion providers in the country. Prior to the murder, Dr. Carhart provided late abortions at Tiller's clinic, Women's Health Care Services, in Wichita, Kansas.
State Senator Danielle Conrad, who voted against the bill, told KPTM News, "This bill isn't about fetal pain, it's about pushing the envelope to get rid of women's rights." Senator Brenda Council also told KPTM News that the bill is "advancing political agendas above the real interests of women and children in this state," and labeled it as "a total disregard for the interests of the mothers and families who have to make difficult decisions."
Of the 2,800 abortions performed in Nebraska in 2008, none were performed after 20 weeks, bringing up questions about the need for such legislation. The bill will now face two more rounds of debate and two more votes before it can be sent to the governor's office for approval.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .