Actually, make that two. Nebraska Republican Governor Dave Heineman said that he plans to sign legislation today which would require doctors to screen women for mental and physical problems that could pose as a “risk” after getting an abortion. In short, abortion providers in Nebraska are completely fucked. The other bill to be passed later this week would be the first to ban a mental health exception for late term abortions.
And that’s just the beginning of these clusterfuck bills of contradictions. If bill LB594 is passed, doctors would not only be forced to inform women seeking abortion of the mental and physical risks within 24 hours of the procedure, but also are required to make an assessment of whether they were coerced to have an abortion or hold those “risk factors” — and would be required to tell them so. So after “assessing” whether their patient is being coerced to have an abortion, they’re basically being forced to coerce them to not have one.
The other piece of legislation, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (LB1103), would ban certain late-term abortions based on the assertion that a fetus can feel pain — and is a direct aim at Dr. Leroy Carhart, one of the only late-term providers left in the country who holds his clinic in Omaha, NE. The bill would also be the first to bar women from citing mental health problems as a reason to have an abortion after 20 weeks — which is funny considering they’re so concerned with the mental health of the patient before 20 weeks.
The blatant anti-choice and ableist implications in these bills are just atrocious. Not only will some women be forced to carry their pregnancies to term with no mental health exception, but doctors will be terrified to perform abortions in fear of not correctly adhering to these obscure screening rules. WaPo reports:
The bill is unusual, however, in spelling out what doctors must look for. They include any risk factors cited in peer-reviewed journals indexed by two major medical and scientific listing services during the year before a planned abortion. The risks could be “physical, psychological, emotional, demographic, or situational,” according to the bill.
“It’s very difficult to know for certain if you’re complying with this bill,” said Kyle Carlson, an attorney for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “There’s an undetermined amount of documentation you have to go through to know all the…risk factors.”
While it should be comforting to know both bills will be challenged in court, this is what anti-choicers want; LB1103 was created for the sole purpose of being challenged and brought to the Supreme Court.
Julie Burkhart has info on what you can do. Think Progress and RH Reality Check have more details.