News Abortion

Nebraska Republican Wants to Ban Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure

Teddy Wilson

A Nebraska GOP lawmaker is planning to introduce a bill that would criminalize a common medical procedure used after a miscarriage and during second-trimester abortions.

A Nebraska GOP lawmaker is planning to introduce a bill that would criminalize a common medical procedure used after a miscarriage and during second-trimester abortions.

Sen. Tommy Garrett (R-Bellevue) is planning to introduce a bill to ban “dismemberment abortions,” which would target the dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure, commonly used in second-trimester abortion care. The procedure is a method of abortion during which a physician will dilate a woman’s cervix and remove the fetus using forceps, clamps, or other instruments.

Garrett is working with an anti-choice group, the Nebraska Right to Life, to craft the legislation, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported. The organization has been approached by four other state lawmakers during the legislative recess to inquire about sponsoring anti-choice bills during the next legislation session.

Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, told the Lincoln Journal-Star that the organization has had “more interest” this year from state lawmakers. Schmit-Albin described abortion restrictions as “chipping away” at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

Legislation to ban the common medical procedure has been introduced by Republican legislators in six states this year, and was signed into law by the governors of Kansas and Oklahoma. The bills have all been copies of legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.

A Michigan lawmaker last week introduced two bills to ban the D and E procedure in the state, and lawmakers in Arkansas are planning on introducing similar legislation during the state’s 2017 legislative session. While the Nebraska state senate is non-partisan body, Republicans hold a 37-11 unofficial majority.

Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate for the Guttmacher Institute, told Rewire that reproductive rights advocates are concerned that attempts to ban D and E abortion care could be introduced in multiple state legislatures in the coming years.

“This could be a new trend at the state level,” Nash said. “It does fall right in line with some of the trends we’ve been seeing over time. From states restricting access to post-viability abortion to the trend of 20-week abortion bans.”

Nebraska was the first state to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers justified the restriction by charging that “substantial medical evidence indicates that [fetuses] are capable of feeling pain.” However, all available medical evidence disproves the notion of so-called fetal pain.

Garrett, who sponsored a failed 2014 bill that would have required abortion clinics to post signs that say it is “against the law for anyone to force you to have an abortion,” told the Lincoln Journal-Star that he has struggled with how to make more “progress” in restricting abortion.

When the anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress published a series of videos spreading misinformation about Planned Parenthood, it gave Garrett an opportunity to introduce new legislation.

“This Planned Parenthood stuff is so vulgar. I mean, it’s beyond words,” Garrett said of the wisely discredited attack videos distributed by CMP in coordination with Republican lawmakers. “It’s like baby body parts are commodities to be traded on the open market.”

Planned Parenthood has been repeatedly cleared by state investigations of any wrongdoing with regards to fetal tissue donation and disposal.

A recent independent analysis of the CMP videos found that footage in the “undercover” videos was found to have been deceptively edited to alter the meaning of dialogue, and significant portions of the footage were found to have been removed from videos the organization claimed were “full footage.”

Questions have been raised about CMP’s deceptive tactics, ideological agenda, and connections to radical and violent anti-choice activists. The front group is also the subject of two lawsuits.

Suzanna de Baca, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said lawmakers are using the videos to justify further eroding reproductive rights. “We urge lawmakers to stop using these wholly fraudulent videos to justify measures that threaten access to affordable, high-quality health care in Nebraska,” de Baca told the Lincoln Journal-Star.

News Politics

NARAL President Tells Her Abortion Story at the Democratic National Convention

Ally Boguhn

Though reproductive rights and health have been discussed by both Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while on the campaign trail, Democrats have come under fire for failing to ask about abortion care during the party’s debates.

Read more of our coverage of the Democratic National Convention here.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the story of her abortion on the stage of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) Wednesday evening in Philadelphia.

“Texas women are tough. We approach challenges with clear eyes and full hearts. To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust, and the chance to chart our own path,” Hogue told the crowd on the third night of the party’s convention. “I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time.”

“I made the decision that was best for me — to have an abortion — and to get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community,” she continued. “Now, years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children.”

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

Hogue noted that her experience is similar to those of women nationwide.

“About one in three American women have abortions by the age of 45, and the majority are mothers just trying to take care of the families they already have,” she said. “You see, it’s not as simple as bad girls get abortions and good girls have families. We are the same women at different times in our lives — each making decisions that are the best for us.”

As reported by Yahoo News, “Asked if she was the first to have spoken at a Democratic National Convention about having had an abortion for reasons other than a medical crisis, Hogue replied, ‘As far as I know.'”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards on Tuesday night was the first speaker at the DNC in Philadelphia to say the word “abortion” on stage, according to Vox’s Emily Crockett. 

Richards’ use of the word abortion was deliberate, and saying the word helps address the stigma that surrounds it, Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Vice President of Communication Mary Alice Carter said in an interview with ThinkProgress. 

“When we talk about reproductive health, we talk about the full range of reproductive health, and that includes access to abortion. So we’re very deliberate in saying we stand up for a woman’s right to access an abortion,” Carter said.

“There is so much stigma around abortion and so many people that sit in shame and don’t talk about their abortion, and so it’s very important to have the head of Planned Parenthood say ‘abortion,’ it’s very important for any woman who’s had an abortion to say ‘abortion,’ and it’s important for us to start sharing those stories and start bringing it out of the shadows and recognizing that it’s a normal experience,” she added.

Though reproductive rights and health have been discussed by both Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while on the campaign trail, Democrats have come under fire for failing to ask about abortion care during the party’s debates. In April, Clinton called out moderators for failing to ask “about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care” over the course of eight debates—though she did not use the term abortion in her condemnation.

News Politics

Tim Kaine Changes Position on Federal Funding for Abortion Care

Ally Boguhn

The Obama administration, however, has not signaled support for rolling back the Hyde Amendment's ban on federal funding for abortion care.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Democratic Party’s vice presidential candidate, has promised to stand with nominee Hillary Clinton in opposing the Hyde Amendment, a ban on federal funding for abortion care.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that Kaine “has said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment,” according to the network’s transcript.

“Voters can be 100 percent confident that Tim Kaine is going to fight to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Mook said.

The commitment to opposing Hyde was “made privately,” Clinton spokesperson Jesse Ferguson later clarified to CNN’s Edward Mejia Davis.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

Kaine’s stated support for ending the federal ban on abortion funding is a reversal on the issue for the Virginia senator. Kaine this month told the Weekly Standard  that he had not “been informed” that this year’s Democratic Party platform included a call for repealing the Hyde Amendment. He said he has “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”

Repealing the Hyde Amendment has been an issue for Democrats on the campaign trail this election cycle. Speaking at a campaign rally in New Hampshire in January, Clinton denounced Hyde, noting that it made it “harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights.”

Clinton called the federal ban on abortion funding “hard to justify” when asked about it later that month at the Brown and Black Presidential Forum, adding that “the full range of reproductive health rights that women should have includes access to safe and legal abortion.”

Clinton’s campaign told Rewire during her 2008 run for president that she “does not support the Hyde amendment.”

The Democratic Party on Monday codified its commitment to opposing Hyde, as well as the Helms Amendment’s ban on foreign assistance funds being used for abortion care. 

The Obama administration, however, has not signaled support for rolling back Hyde’s ban on federal funding for abortion care.

When asked about whether the president supported the repeal of Hyde during the White House press briefing Tuesday, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said he did not “believe we have changed our position on the Hyde Amendment.”

When pushed by a reporter to address if the administration is “not necessarily on board” with the Democratic platform’s call to repeal Hyde, Schultz said that the administration has “a longstanding view on this and I don’t have any changes in our position to announce today.”