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State senator to offer two pro-life bills

Two pro-life bills will offer Nebraskans an opportunity to increase protection for children in the womb and encourage donations to organizations that support pregnant women. 

During a Jan. 11 press conference, State Sen. Joni Albrecht announced her plans to introduce the Nebraska Heartbeat Act and the Nebraska Pregnancy Help Act during the legislative session. 

The heartbeat measure would protect infants from abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which occurs about the sixth week of pregnancy. Nebraska’s current law stops abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

The Pregnancy Help Act would incentivize donations to pregnancy help organizations in Nebraska by authorizing up to $10 million in tax credits for donations. 

The pregnancy resource centers offer food, housing, transportation, baby supplies and job training to mothers in need. 

“These bills are backed by Nebraskans and based in science,” Albrecht, of Thurston, said during the press conference at the State Capitol, where she was surrounded by fellow state senators, pro-life advocates and medical professionals. 

Albrecht said she’s confident that the measures can be passed. Last year a bill that would have protected babies from the moment of conception fell short by two votes. 

POLL SHOWS SUPPORT 

A statewide poll – conducted on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America organization – indicated that 58% of Nebraskans support protection for babies in the womb once a heartbeat is detected – with exceptions for rape, incest or to save the life of a mother. 

Those in support included nearly two-thirds of political independents, more than half of young women and nearly half of Democrats. 

Albrecht had said she would have preferred proposing a bill without the exceptions, but she acknowledged the polling results. 

“The state of Nebraska is best served when every life counts, when every life, born and unborn, is valued and cherished,” she said. “Let’s start here, in a place where we should all be able to agree: women deserve support, and babies with a beating heart should be protected.” 

“The humanity of the six-week gestation fetus is undeniable from the science,” said Dr. Katrina Furth, a developmental biologist with the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, who also spoke at the press conference. 

“Starting in the sixth week of gestation, the heart starts beating,” Furth said. Peer-reviewed science calls this a heartbeat, embryology textbooks call this a heartbeat, and the people of Nebraska call this a heartbeat. This heartbeat will not stop until that person dies.” 

HOW IT WORKS 

– The Nebraska Heartbeat Act would require doctors to use an ultrasound image to detect a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion. An abortion would be prohibited if a heartbeat was found. 

– Abortions would be allowed in emergency medical situations and in cases of rape and incest. 

– Women would not be held liable for a violation of the act, just abortionists. 

– There would be no criminal or civil penalties for abortionists, but they could face discipline and even have their medical licenses revoked. 

– The measure would not affect contraception use, access to in vitro fertilization, medical care after a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancies. 

Tom Venzor, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, encouraged people to thank Albrecht for taking up the pro-life bills. 

He also urged them to “be ready this session to take action on these legislative bills and help us save thousands of lives and support pregnant and parenting mothers.”