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Venzor: Saving lives with information

“We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life.’ We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of’ this conflict ….” 

These words come from St. Pope John Paul II’s famous encyclical, “The Gospel of Life” (no. 28). And their truth was verified at a March 20 Judiciary Committee hearing on LB209, a pro-life policy that would empower every mother seeking an abortion with information giving her a second chance at choosing life. 

LB209 was introduced and prioritized by Sen. Joni Albrecht. It amends Nebraska’s pre-existing informed consent statutes related to abortion. These statutes ensure abortionists provide mothers with critical information before they can consent to an abortion. This includes information such as the size and development of the child, that the father is liable for child support, and her option to view an ultrasound. 

LB209 would further require an abortionist to instruct the mother that if she changes her mind about the abortion, it is possible that the abortion pill process can be reversed, but time is of the essence and information about reversal steps can be found at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website.

ABORTION PILL AND REVERSAL

Usage of the abortion pill has skyrocketed over the past 15 years and now accounts for 55 percent of all Nebraska abortions. The abortion pill is a two-dose regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone, which is taken at the abortion facility, is a progesterone-blocking agent that depletes this natural hormone critical to early pregnancy. Misoprostol, which is taken at home, creates uterine contractions to expel the unborn child. 

Abortion pill reversal is the administration of high-dose progesterone, which must be taken within 72 hours of consuming mifepristone, but before misoprostol is taken. High-dose progesterone essentially works to outcompete the mifepristone and restore progesterone to normal levels. Notably, progesterone has been safely and regularly utilized in pregnancies for half a century, especially by those susceptible to miscarriage.

If a mother changes her mind about abortion and only takes mifepristone, there is only a 25 percent chance the pregnancy will continue. But intervening with high-dose progesterone increases the chance of the pregnancy continuing to 64 to 68 percent.

COMPETING CULTURES

The recent committee hearing proved to be a clash between the culture of life and the culture of death. 

On the one hand, pro-life advocacy organizations, such as Nebraska Right to Life, Nebraska Family Alliance and the Nebraska Catholic Conference, advanced life-affirming arguments.

On the other hand, pro-choice and pro-abortion advocates, such as Dr. Deborah Turner (Planned Parenthood’s abortionist) and a representative of Dr. LeRoy Carhart (the Bellevue abortionist infamous for his association with late-term, partial-birth abortions), advanced arguments attempting to debunk the sound scientific findings upon which the abortion pill reversal process is based.

Among the pro-life voices were two medical professionals, Dr. Robert Plambeck and women’s health nurse practitioner Teresa Kenney, who have successfully administered the abortion pill reversal protocol.

Dr. Plambeck, a Lincoln-based OB-GYN who has delivered more than 4,000 babies, shared with the Judiciary Committee that he has been involved in six abortion pill reversals with all six mothers going on to deliver full-term, healthy babies, including a set of twins.

Kenney, an Omaha nurse practitioner with 19 years of experience in women’s health care, testified about several mothers she has worked with after they discovered the abortion pill reversal protocol. She shared the gratitude of each mother to have a second chance at choice and reverse a decision they made while they felt unsupported, scared and alone. While she acknowledged the abortion pill reversal is sometimes ineffectual, the chance at reversing the abortion pill often brings physical, emotional and spiritual healing to the mother, knowing she did what she could to give her child life.

OUR RESPONSE

When St. Pope John Paul II made the statement in the opening of this column on the “enormous and dramatic clash between … the culture of life and the culture of death,” he finished it by saying: “We are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.” 

Among our many life-affirming endeavors, LB209 is the responsibility of each of us. LB209 is our opportunity to empower mothers with a second chance at choice and to work on behalf of the voiceless, the unborn – to advance the culture of life in Nebraska, while so many other states plunge further into the culture of death.

Today is your moment. Call your senator. Ask them where they stand on LB209. Encourage them to join you in giving mothers a second chance at choice! Your advocacy on LB209 and other pro-life initiatives will be critical this session.

Tom Venzor is executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, with headquarters in Lincoln. Contact him at tvenzor@necatholic.org.

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