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The final week of committee hearings has begun, and by February 27th, all 1,221 bills introduced in this biennium will have had its public hearing with the appropriate committee. What this means for the Unicameral is that full day debate will begin next March 3rd, allowing more time for floor discussion on the most important bills of the session. This week’s column will focus on LB 814, Senator Geist’s priority bill that bans dismemberment abortions in Nebraska.
The purpose of LB 814 is to end the practice of dismemberment abortions in the state of Nebraska, as well as to explicitly define what a dismemberment abortion is under Nebraska law. LB 814 defines a dismemberment abortion as any abortion in which, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, a person purposely dismembers the body of a living unborn child and extracts him or her one piece at a time through the uterus through the use of any tool that slices, crushes, or grasps a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off. The current bill does not include suction under this definition, and exempts cases where the unborn child is already dead. By having a clear and detailed definition, this makes the law easier to enforce through a better understanding of the process and effects of the procedure.
What this bill also does is direct any legal issues at the physician performing the procedure, not the women. This also excludes nurses, secretaries, receptionists, and other non-physicians from liabilities if a dismemberment abortion is performed. Women, or their parents if they are underage, can also file for injunctive relief against any person who performs a dismemberment abortion. There are also protections in the bill for women to avoid bearing attorney’s fees, as long as their case is brought in good faith. Finally, women have the right to ask that their anonymity be preserved during any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding or action taken based on this act, with the court ruling whether or not their anonymity shall be disclosed if she does not give consent to public disclosure.
Regardless of your stance on abortion, I think that we can all agree that ripping a living baby limb-by-limb from the womb is abhorrent. I support LB 814 and am proud to stand in support of pro-life legislation.
On a final note, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has given public testimony at any point during this year’s session. Government is meant to work for the people, and that is easiest when the people are directly involved and let their voices be heard. We have had many bills in committee this session that could change the way Nebraskans live, so regardless of whether you have spoken out in support or opposition of a bill, I thank you for taking part in our process.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: firstname.lastname@example.org