Nebraska's New Abortion Law Focus of National Conference

By: Keller Russell Email
By: Keller Russell Email

Nebraska's first of its kind law, banning abortions after 20 weeks, will take center stage in Washington, D.C. in less than two weeks.

Pro-life supporters from across the country are gathering to learn how to use Nebraska's law as a model for their own.

Nebraska's Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act went into effect in mid October.

The law prevents abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and it has made Julie Schmidt-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, a sought after speaker.

She's already spoke in Kentucky and Kansas to their Right to Life organizations. Now, she's been invited to speak on the national stage.

Right to Life affiliates across the country have bombarded the national office and Schmidt-Albin with questions about Nebraska's new law -- the first of it's kind in the country.

It's received so much attention, Nebraska's become the focus of a December conference for the National Right to Life.

With 50 state affiliates, the organization's director of state legislation, Mary Spaulding Balch, said the goal is to get them all to pass protective legislation on a statewide level.

"We will be suggesting to our affiliates that they use the language that was actually passed in Nebraska. We think the language is very strong and we think it can be protected if it's challenged in court," said Balch.

In Nebraska, that has yet to happen. Other states will likely face more challenges in passing a bill.

"We have an easier task in Nebraska. As I tell them, we only have one house in our legislature so it's much easier for us to pass legislation here," said Schmidt-Albin. "All these other states that are going to be pursuing this now, they all have a two house system. They all have two-part parties and caucuses and they're going to have a lot more hurdles to pass."

Schmidt-Albin said Nebraska had a perfect storm for the pain capable legislation: A pro-life governor, attorney general and speaker of the legislature, who drafted the bill.

"Really, having speaker Mike Flood lead the bill was the key because as an attorney, he knew that he had to lay down a meticulous record in floor debate and in our committee hearing and he did," said Schmidt-Albin.

They're keys to success she'll share December 7 with other pro-life supporters looking to follow in Nebraska's footsteps.

A spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America tells me the organization doesn't have any national opposition efforts in store.

If similar bills pop up in other states, he said Planned Parenthood will work with local affiliates to educate the public and state lawmakers on why the bill is "bad policy".


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