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NRL News
Page 1
June 2009
Volume 36
Issue 6

Nebraska Passes One of Nation’s Strongest Ultrasound Laws

BY Dave Andrusko

On May 29, Nebraska’s unicameral legislature overwhelmingly passed LB 675—informally dubbed by its supporters the Mother’s Right to See Her Unborn Child Ultrasound bill—on a vote of 40–5.  Gov. Dave Heineman immediately signed the act into law.

“The bill takes us one step closer to ensuring that a mother has the opportunity to see her unborn child’s humanity before making a life and death decision,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, NRLC director of state legislation. “This is a classic example of ‘informed consent,’ which is why the abortion lobby always opposes such laws.”

Contrary to the impression often left by opponents, almost all abortionists already use ultrasounds. Under LB 675, there is a subtle but important difference.

Typically, at an abortion clinic viewing the ultrasound is an “option” that few women know they have. Ordinarily, the screen is turned away from the woman and for her to see the image she has to check off a box at the end of a form that she might not even have noticed.

Under the Nebraska law abortionists who use ultrasound would be required to position the screen in a way that the mother can easily see it and inform her that she can see the image of her unborn child, if she so chooses.

“Abortion clinic personnel do everything in their power to dissuade women from viewing an image of her baby,” Balch said. “They understand how ultrasounds act as a reality check at a crucial time.” Nebraska’s law would “minimize the capacity of the abortionist to dissuade her from viewing the image.”

As Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, told National Right to Life News, if passed, LB 675 “will be one of the strongest ultrasound laws in the country.” The key, according to Schmit-Albin, is that it shifts the burden.

No longer would the mother in crisis need to ask to see the ultrasound. The abortionist would be required to display the ultrasound screen to her, although nothing would prevent the mother from averting her eyes from the screen if she decides not to view it, Schmit-Albin explained.

“We are pleased that an overwhelming majority of the Legislature recognized that the abortion industry does not operate in the same manner as other medical professionals,” Schmit-Albin said. “Abortion facilities have a vested interest in completing every abortion they undertake.”

Schmit-Albin hailed the assistance of National Right to Life. “LB 675, the Mothers’ Right to See Her Unborn Child Ultrasound Bill, would not have passed in the form it did had we not received tremendous assistance from National Right to Life and most particularly Mary Spaulding Balch,” she said. “NRLC’s commitment to passing an ultrasound bill in Nebraska which most closely follows NRLC’s model was the key to success.”

“Mary came to Nebraska twice to speak to our grassroots,” Schmit-Albin added. “Her scope of knowledge regarding abortion legislation and case law is unsurpassed and truly impressed those she worked with in Nebraska.”

Schmit-Albin concluded, “Were it not for Mary and NRLC I doubt LB 675 would have remained in as pristine a condition that it has. It truly troubled our adversaries on the floor of the Legislature and in the abortion lobby.”