Commentary

Action needed now on dismemberment abortion

Editor’s note: The Nebraska Legislature has indefinitely postponed its legislative session. They are expected to meet for the limited purposes of passing an emergency appropriation as a response to the coronavirus. Otherwise, it is unclear when they will reconvene, though they will need to reconvene, at the very least, to pass a budget. Nevertheless, your continued action is needed on LB814.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about LB814, a bill banning the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion. Dismemberment abortion involves tearing apart, limb by limb, a living human being in utero. LB814, introduced and prioritized by Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln, has an important road ahead and your action is urgently needed.

By urgent, what I mean is this: I hope that after reading this column you will immediately take a few minutes to call or write to your state senator. And if you can’t do something immediately, take a lesson from Uncle Billy in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and tie a few pieces of string around your fingers as a reminder – just don’t be quite as forgetful.

With only around 15 legislative days remaining in the session, the clock is ticking for LB814 to advance through the legislative process. This means the state Legislature will soon be deciding whether LB814 should advance. At any stage of the process when state senators decide the fate of legislation, it is critical they hear from constituents.

Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have both said that in the fight for justice, the church cannot sit on the sidelines. We must “meddle” in politics, as Pope Francis has also said. And we meddle in politics because we have a deep care and concern for the common good of society. Political participation is part of the life of charity Jesus calls us to live. We cannot neglect our participation in the political life of society.

If you need to learn more about LB814, visit www.necatholic.org or review my article from a couple of weeks ago. Then, take a few minutes to call or email your state senator. At the very least, specifically ask your senator to support LB814 at every stage of the legislative process. If you don’t know who your state senator is, visit www.nebraskalegislature.gov or call our office at 402-477-7517.

For example, you might say something like the following:

“Dear Senator, thanks for your service to our legislative district. As your constituent, I am asking for your support of LB814 which would ban dismemberment abortions in Nebraska. Modern science and ultrasound technology reveal to us the beauty of unborn human life. By banning dismemberment abortion, which is done during the second trimester, we can show greater respect for the little human life which already, by this point in a pregnancy, has fully developed arms and legs and can yawn, hiccup and smile. I hope you will support LB814 at every stage of the legislative process. Know that I pray for you and other elected officials on a regular basis. Thanks for your time!”

If this seems too long, just call or email, let your senator know you are a constituent, ask them to support LB814, and ask about their position on the bill. This should take no more than a minute.

Reaching out to your state senator is as easy as A-B-C. Unfortunately, two obstacles often get in the way. The first is inaction. As they say, the longest distance is the 18 inches from one’s mind to one’s heart. I would add that the distance between one’s heart and one’s actions can be just as long. The second is lack of courage. Courage requires doing the more difficult thing, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s not always easy to contact your elected official.

Let’s not allow either of these obstacles to stand in the way today. The time is now. Stand up for the unborn. Stand up for mothers in crisis pregnancies. Stand up for the medical profession and its vocation of healing.

As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II’s monumental encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”), take a moment to recall those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ that John Paul never tired of repeating: “Do not be afraid.”