21 Apr, 2010
Why You Should be Concerned with Abortion Laws in Nebraska
Nebraska just enacted two laws that are designed not just to erode access to safe abortions but, primarily, to pave the way to the Supreme Court to set up a challenge to existing abortion rights.
The first law prohibits abortion from the 20th week, on the unsupported premise that fetuses at this stage can feel pain. The second requires in-depth physical and mental screening of women seeking abortions.
Since physical exams are already performed pre-procedure, the implication is that women who choose to undergo abortion are either mentally unstable or incapable of making decisions about their own health care. Or maybe they figured they’d just throw a few more obstacles in the way and make it almost impossible for doctors to be sure of being in compliance.
No evidence is provided to justify either of these laws. In fact, all scientifically sound studies have found minimal emotional problems post-abortion and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists denies any scientific evidence of ability to perceive pain at that this arbitrary gestational age. But none of that matters. The whole point is to get to the appeals courts.
This isn’t just about Nebraska (or Kansas or Oklahoma or …). The anti-choice groups have gotten creative in their crusade to get their face time with the Supreme Court. They’re taking a swipe at the 35 years of court precedent that prohibits restricting abortion prior to viability (generally between 22 and 24 weeks).
They know that the “fetal pain” law will probably not take effect unless the Supreme Court rules in their favor. And, if they succeed in pulling Justice Kennedy’s swing vote to their side, they won’t be content with just setting limits on abortion. They’ll keep going until they have fully imposed their beliefs on us all.