Bill Curbing Abortion Procedure Draws Fire in Nebraska

Eric Galatas | Public News Service
Doctors who perform a common abortion procedure could face Class IV felony charges, serve up to two years behind bars and pay a $10,000 fine if LB 814 becomes law. Photo Credit: Pixabay

LINCOLN, Neb. — Proponents for women’s reproductive health are mustering forces to defeat a bill introduced last week by state Sen. Suzanne Geist, R-Lincoln, that would prohibit a common abortion procedure after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Andi Curry Grub, Nebraska state executive director for Planned Parenthood North Central States, says, if signed into law, the bill would open the door to putting abortion out of reach for women in Nebraska.

“Any time we allow politicians to start interfering in the relationship between a doctor and patient, we’re opening a can of worms,” Curry Grub states. “Their goal is to ban abortion outright, and this is just a first step.”

Proponents argue that Legislative Bill 814 would stop what they describe as dismemberment abortion. The procedure’s medical term is dilation and extraction, and is considered to be the standard for abortion care after the first trimester.

Proponents also maintain the measure would reduce the risk of complications and patients’ emotional distress.

If passed, physicians who perform the procedure could face Class IV felony charges, serve up to two years behind bars and pay a $10,000 fine.

Curry Grub maintains the graphic and inflammatory language in the bill is intended to shock the public, and says it grossly exaggerates a common medical procedure.

She says she also does not accept the argument that the measure is necessary to protect women’s health.

“I think that this does the complete opposite,” she stresses. “I think it actually could put women in danger because it’s taking away a physician’s ability to provide the best care possible to their patients.”

When similar legislation was introduced in Kansas, medical experts signed a letter warning that the move would restrict “the safest and most expeditious way to terminate a second trimester pregnancy” and could force physicians to provide substandard care to patients.

The Kansas bill also was opposed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.