News Abortion

Nebraska Right to Life “Informed Consent” Website Not So “Non-Judgmental”

Robin Marty

Nebraska wants to make sure women seeking abortions have easily accessible, unbiased information to look at. Unfortunately, the info they will offer isn't.

When you put it this way, it almost sounds noble: “Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha said he introduced the measure because he wants women to have access to non-judgmental, scientific information when deciding whether to have an abortion.”

Too bad that doesn’t appear to be what LB300 is offering.

LB300 has been dubbed Nebraska Right to Life’s top legislative priority for the 2013 session. Written by the anti-choice lobbying group, an arm of the National Right to Life Committee, the bill’s creators say it is a chance to bring the state’s current informed consent handouts into the modern Internet age. Rather than being subjected to paper copies of handouts of fetal development—handouts the women seeking abortions would need to get on her own after calling a 1-800 number as part of the process of obtaining a termination—women and teens would instead be able to view a website that provides 4-D ultrasound images, development information, videos, and additional state sponsored information.

“What was state-of-the-art in 1993 is not the same for 2013,” Nebraska Right to Life executive director Julie Schmit-Albin told National Right to Life News. “LB 300 will bring the informed consent for abortion information current with the way people search for information these days: via their smart phones, laptops and tablets rather than having to request a booklet from DHHS that had to be mailed out. Women and young girls considering an abortion appointment can pull up 4-D moving ultrasound images of babies developing in the womb and have that information immediately as they consider their decision.”

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In fact, in some ways the move makes sense. Unlike Indiana, where legislators are trying to convince lawmakers to create handouts to give to women as they seek an abortion, despite the fact the information is already available on a website, Nebraska is noting that a website is simple, inexpensive, and easy to access. If we can provide medicine in a remote setting then it makes sense that providing medically accurate, objective, non-judgmental information prior to a procedure can be done remotely as well.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be what those seeking an abortion in Nebraska will be offered, if just the language in the bill itself is any indication.

The link shall read as follows: “The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services maintains a web page containing objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate information about the development of the unborn child, as well as a link to videos of ultrasound images of the unborn child at various stages of development. The web page also has information on alternatives to abortion and a comprehensive list on where to obtain an ultrasound free of charge. The web page can be reached by clicking here.”

They couldn’t even manage “objective and non-judgemental” language in the link that would go to the page providing information, much less in the information itself.

According to Schmit-Albin, the Nebraska site would be much like the new site mandated in the state of Kansas. Kansas’s website provides handouts that refer to the moment of fertilization as the creation of a single celled embryo. From then on, it’s an “unborn child.”

The cells of the embryo repeatedly divide moving through the Fallopian tube into
the woman’s uterus or womb. Implantation, the process whereby the unborn child
embeds itself into the wall of the womb, begin by the end of the third week and is
completed during the fourth week of pregnancy.

We’ve seen this sort of manipulative language used by many of the states’ new “informed consent” websites, most recently Arizona, including in descriptions of types of abortions.

Should a state be asked to provide an accurate website offering information and support for women seeking to terminate pregnancies? By all means. But when it comes to “objective and nonjudgmental” information, it’s obvious that Nebraska Right to Life is offering something entirely different.

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