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'An unborn child is a baby': Abortion bans discussed in marathon legislative hearing

Posted at 7:40 AM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 08:52:14-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KKMTV) — With a major US Supreme Court decision looming, lawmakers seeking to end abortion in Nebraska now see a moment to act.

“An unborn child is a baby that should be cherished and protected at every stage of development.”

Senator Joni Albrecht introduced a bill that bans abortions outright in Nebraska, if the US Supreme Court votes to allow states to ban it, stemming from a Mississippi case.

She says over 200,000 abortions have been performed in Nebraska since it was legalized in 1971.

She and others say a fetus is a human life.

“We can see clearly in 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds that an unborn child in the womb is not a blob of tissue or disease to be cured but a child waiting to be loved,” said Nate Grasz with Nebraska Family Alliance.

The bill drew a large crowd with opponents saying the bill robs women of autonomy over their own bodies.

Alyssa Salamanca Ghajariah is studying to be a physician and says she’ll leave the state if the law is passed.

“This is where my husband and I plan to raise a family and build our lives together, however, I cannot in good conscience live and practice in a state that creates a hostile environment for women,” said Salamanca Ghajariah.

Several doctors said the bill would it difficult to treat various types of high-risk pregancies, others said it would low-income women the most, who would be forced to leave the state to get an abortion.

“When someone has made the decision to have an abortion they should be able to get one without a delay in care, hop on a plane to another state or carry their pregancny against their will,” said Scout Richters, Legal & Policy Director for the ACLU of Nebraska.

Two other abortion bills were up for discussion for the marathon hearing.

One bill puts a series of regulations around medication abortions, allowing for one of them to not be mailed to the woman seeking the drug.

The other bans abortions when a heartbeat is detected. That’s around six weeks of a woman being pregnant.

“It’s simply one of the signs of life, an unmistakable sign that any living human being is present,” said Marion Miner, with the Nebraska Catholic Conference.

Opponents said many women don’t even know they're pregnant yet and say this would ban 98 percent of abortions performed in Nebraska.

Andi Curry Grubb with Planned Parenthood pointed to the six-week ban in Texas, and the dramatic effect it had on women.

“I cry all the time, I think about the people who simply can’t leave Texas, the people we never hear back from, the people who never call us in the first place, where do they go, what do they do, what will happen to them and their families,” said Curry Grubb.

All three bills have been prioritized, giving them a good shot to reach the floor of the legislature before the end of the session.

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