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.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .