Senators announce new push for abortion restrictions in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Anti-abortion state senators in Nebraska are making a new push for abortion restrictions. 

Sen. Joni Albrecht said Wednesday that they will be introducing a bill in the coming days that would outlaw abortion after about six weeks of gestation. 

“Under the Nebraska Heartbeat Act, before performing an abortion, a physician must perform an ultrasound to listen for a fetal heartbeat,” she said. “If a heartbeat is detected, performing an abortion is unlawful.” 

Albrecht was joined by anti-abortion organizations and health experts, including a Lincoln physician. 

“As a medical professional, I believe this bill would not interfere with my ability or any other’s physician’s ability to properly provide care for women or her unborn child” said Dr. Robert Plambeck, a Lincoln OB-GYN.

Supporters say the proposal would not criminalize patients seeking abortions or doctors performing them. 

But doctors could lose their medical licenses if they perform an abortion after an ultrasound finds cardiac activity. 

Last year, a bill banning abortion fell two votes short of passage. 

“It is very evident that a total ban was not appropriate at this time,” Albrecht said. “Very difficult for me to have accepted this, but that’s what it is, and that’s what we’re going to carry.” 

Senators opposing the bill said Nebraskans do not want legislators to be making these decisions for women. 

“This idea of a six-week bill is preposterous,” Sen. George Dungan said. “I mean, most people don’t even know they’re pregnant within six weeks. By the time you know you are pregnant, this has the effect of essentially a complete and utter ban, which is what it is.” 

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 85% of abortions in Nebraska occur after six weeks. 

Sen. Megan Hunt from Omaha says she will continue to fight for abortion rights. 

“The work for abortion rights has never ended, and there has never been a law that has passed anywhere in the world that stopped abortions from happening,” Hunt said. “We can only stop safe abortions from happening.”

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