Roundup: What’s the Matter With Nebraska?


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.

 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.  

Mini Roundup: Suddenly younger people are developing head and neck cancer.  Here’s an easy fix to that.

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

Obama’s abortion deal reverses pro-choice campaign pledge  – Raw Story

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

Georgia Senate Votes To Prevent Coercive Abortions – WCTV

Why I wrote the ‘Stupak amendment’ and voted for health-care reform – Washington Post

Charlie Crist Was Pro-Abortion in 1998, Video Surfaces as Rubio Debate Comes – LifeNews.com

Bill Would Force Doctors To Screen Women Before Abortions – KETV Omaha

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 FDA Ignores Court Order on Emergency Contraception – Big Think

The sad truth about Harper and maternal health – Globe and Mail

What the Child-Abuse Scandal Teaches the Church – Newsweek

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

The key moments in Obama’s struggle to pass health reform – The Hill

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

Yooper Anger Both Ways Over Stupak’s ‘Yes’ Vote – NPR

Health clinic assisted a student seeking abortion properly under the law – Seattle Times

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

Majority of Chinese people want two children – Sify

Catholics On Both Sides Protest In Washington – WJZ

HIV positive woman spreads hope in UP – The Hindu

South Africa to launch mass HIV testing drive in April, to test 15 million in … – Aidsmap

Sir Elton John spends his birthday celebrating at HIV awareness centre – Monsters and Critics.com

HIV/AIDS now in curricula – Business Mirror

Economic crisis could worsen HIV/AIDS epidemic: UN – Reuters

Cabral sees rough sailing on sex education – Malaya

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

PM’s decision on contraception aid could spark backlash from social conservatives – Hill Times

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

Oral sex triggers risk of head and neck cancer in young people – Examiner.com

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

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

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty