It was a busy week in Nebraska, where anti-choice and pro-choice factions both butted heads and managed to find a little common ground.
Last week marked the final death of free prenatal care for the poorest of women in Nebraska. The funds, which originally came from Medicaid aid, were cut off in March due to being used on illegal immigrant women, despite the fact that the unborn children would be legal residents of the country.
Due to the governor’s threatened veto of any bill that would reinstate funding that might go to illegal immigrants, legislators have been searching for a solution that all parties would agree to.
A tentative plan to restore state-funded medical coverage to pregnant Nebraska women who are legal residents would cost between $2.7 million and $3 million annually.
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State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha released the figures on Friday.
He is one of a handful of senators trying to craft a legislative proposal to give state-and-federal funded medical coverage to some women. They recently lost coverage after the federal government forced the state to stop allowing unborn children to qualify for Medicaid. That had allowed women who didn’t qualify themselves for Medicaid — including illegal immigrants — to get Medicaid-covered care.
An earlier plan to restore state-funded prenatal care fell flat because it would have helped illegal immigrants.
Legislators opposing the plan are being asked to look at some startling facts about prenatal care, a stark reminder of what denying healthcare can do.
Senators were shocked by one statistic presented at the noon meeting: a 4 percent death rate during the first year of life for those babies whose mothers had no prenatal care at all.
The high death rate has many factors, including that mothers who don’t get prenatal care may be less likely to take their children to doctors after birth. But prenatal care does play a role, McVea said.
“It’s very, very clear that early and adequate prenatal care saves lives,” said McVea.
In the meantime, while Nebraska’s “pro-life” contingent is denying adequate medical care to the unborn, they are at the same time pushing more laws to force women who don’t want to have a child to be forced to have one anyway. Now, she has to prove she’s mentally and physically sound enough for an abortion.
A proposed bill that would require women seeking an abortion to first be screened got first-round approval Friday in the state legislature.
The measure would require a doctor to make sure the woman was not being pressured into having an abortion. The doctor would also check for mental and physical risk factors.
Of course, anti-choice legislators call this move “common sense practice,” and see no irony in pushing for women who don’t want to be pregnant to jump through hoops that might make them have to have children against their will while others who do want their children are denied medical care.
Opponents, led by Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln, described the bill as unconstitutionally vague, impossible to comply with and an extreme departure from medical standards and ethics.
“This bill does nothing to improve women’s health and women’s lives,” Conrad said.
Some also talked of the contrast between concerns expressed for unborn babies through abortion legislation and failed attempts to restore prenatal care for some 1,500 women, including illegal immigrants.
“We’re already seeing women having abortions because they can’t afford prenatal care,” said Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm.
Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha predicted that lawmakers would pass two abortion-related bills this session but take no action to help poor, pregnant women.
“Their babies are going to die,” he said. The other proposal, Legislative Bill 1103, would ban late-term abortions.
In Nebraska, it appears to be better to give birth to an unwanted child than a healthy, wanted one.
March 26, 2010
Abortion bills pass Senate panel – Tulsa World
Social justice, abortion, distributism through the looking glass – American Conservative Magazine
Rep. Stupak: Speaker Pelosi had extra health care votes ‘in her pocket’ – Catholic News Agency
PolitiFact: Health care reform legislation does not expand funding for abortion – Media Matters for America
Conservative pro-life stand will kill women by the thousands – Toronto Star
Abortion doctor’s killer to call witnesses at sentencing – Kansas City Star
Health care debate: A 16-month drama, with 8 key moments – Alexandria Town Talk
Why I wrote the ‘Stupak amendment’ and voted for health-care reform – Washington Post
Stupak: We protected life and health care – Detroit Free Press
Kathleen Parker: Abortions coming soon to newly funded health clinics – Pasadena Star-News
Kansas abortion rate shows sharp decrease in 2009 – Kansas Liberty
In Subway Ads on Abortion, a Pretense of Neutrality – New York Times
Health-care reform a win for women – UI The Daily Iowan
New Millennium, Same Old Backlash – Ms. Magazine
The sad truth about Harper and maternal health – Globe and Mail
March 27, 2010
Federally funded abortions are in our future – Washington Post
Senate passes ban on race-based abortions – Augusta Chronicle
Abortion ban proposal to be on Colo. ballot – The Associated Press
GOP unrealistic on health battle – Paradise Post
Conservative bills advance in Kansas – Examiner.com
Senate OKs ban on race-based abortions – Macon Telegraph
Colorado Dem takes national abortion role – The Aurora Sentinel
ACLU seeks to keep abortion initiative off ballot – Las Vegas Sun
Voters to be asked a 2nd time about abortion – 9NEWS.com
The Buzz | Rep. Bart Stupak is taking heat from the left and right – Kansas City Star
Anti-abortionists snub women’s rights – Columbia Daily Tribune
Help women negotiate for safe sex – PPAG – Ghana News Agency
March 28, 2010
Hiding behind the Hyde amendment – Fort Worth Star Telegram
Judge Expected to Making Ruling on Illinois Abortion Law – Chicago Public Radio
Stupak: Anti-abortion groups ‘used me as best chance to kill healthcare’ – The Hill (blog)
Utah’s Abortion Bill – ChristianityToday.com
Battle lines on abortion – Los Angeles Times
Anti-abortion bills may be challenged – NewsOK.com
Many provisions support abortions – News-Leader.com
Stupak feels arrows from his own side – Detroit Free Press
Georgetown Students Vote To Fund Abortion Rights Panel – Philadelphia Bulletin
Neugebauer’s nastiness on display – Norristown Times Herald
Most adoptions from China now special-needs cases – The Associated Press
Contraception begets promiscuity – North Shore News
Maternal health includes contraception – Calgary Herald
HIV positive woman spreads hope in UP – The Hindu
Sir Elton John spends his birthday celebrating at HIV awareness centre – Monsters and Critics.com
HIV/AIDS now in curricula – Business Mirror
Guru of data takes aim at myths, takes home an HIV tie – Seattle Times
Feminist speaks out against contemporary gender inequality – The College Reporter
March 29, 2010
Anti-abortion movement gains momentum in Mexico – Dallas Morning News
Coloradans To Vote On Abortion Ban In The Fall – cbs4denver.com
Ruling expected in Ill. abortion notification case – Belleville News Democrat
Headlines: Texas rep. admits to being Stupak heckler – TMD Celebrity News
Med schools vary on abortion instruction – The George Washington University The GW Hatchet
Family planning can reduce maternal deaths by 70% – New Vision
Speaker Challenges League Members to Advocate for HIV/AIDS Prevention … – eNews Park Forest
Broward County OK’s Safe Schools for LGBT Youth – SouthFloridaGayNews.com
The Catholic stance on condoms and HIV – News & Observer
T-cells may limit HIV vaccine success – Scientist Live
Academics less likely to have AIDS – Times LIVE
Legislators let down working families on paid sick leave – Kennebec Journal
Cancer: Improve HPV vaccine access – Jackson Clarion Ledger
Korea’s childbirth rate falls for 23rd month – Korea Herald
Nigeria: Why 144 Nigerian Women Die Every Day – AllAfrica.com