Nebraska Bill Would Require Abortion Clinics to Post ‘Anti-Coercion’ Signs


A Nebraska bill would require reproductive health clinics to post signs ostensibly intended to prevent women from being forced into terminating a pregnancy. Opponents of the bill say the signs represent a subtle attempt to dissuade women from seeking abortion services.

LB 1032, introduced by Sen. Bill Kintner (R-Papillion), would require clinics that provide abortion services to “conspicuously post a sign” that says it is “against the law for anyone to force you to have an abortion.” The bill designates the size of the print to be used on the sign, and states that it must be “clearly visible to patients.”

If violated, the proposed law would carry a fine of $10,000 for every day that the required sign is not posted at the clinic during any portion of business hours.

State law already prohibits coercing a woman into terminating a pregnancy.

Bills requiring abortion clinics to post anti-coercion signs have been introduced in several legislatures around the country in the last few years, usually in omnibus anti-coercion bills.

Nebraska’s judiciary committee held a hearing on the legislation on February 27, during which Kintner cited women being forced to have abortions as justification for the proposed law; he told the committee that women have been threatened with violence, withdrawal of financial support, and loss of housing, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports. “We know of cases across the country of women being forced by boyfriends, spouses, parents, and others to have an abortion,” Kintner said.

In an interview with a local NBC affiliate, Kintner compared the sign requirement to signs placed in bars warning against fetal alcohol syndrome for pregnant women. Current Nebraska law requires all establishments that serve or sell alcohol to post a sign that says “drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy can cause birth defects.” The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission is required to provide the signs to businesses.

The bill appears to be based on Americans United for Life (AUL) model legislation. AUL’s model omnibus bill Coercive Abuse Against Mothers Prevention Act includes a section on sign postage requirements, which has identical sentences and phrases to LB 1032. 

The Nebraska Family Alliance, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, supports the bill. During a legislative update video, Nebraska Family Alliance Policy Director Dave Bydalek said, “Studies have shown that about 64 percent of women who say they’ve had an abortion felt that they’d been pressured by family members or boyfriend or spouse.” 

Bydalek is likely referring to a 2004 report by the anti-choice Elliot Institute, which claimed that among U.S. women who reported having an abortion, “64 percent ‘felt pressured by others’ to have the abortion.” 

According to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, the number of instances in which a woman may have been coerced into terminating a pregnancy is much fewer. One study found that the proportion of women citing influence from partners or parents as their most important reason for terminating their pregnancy was less than 1 percent.

Susan Allen, director of marketing and communications at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, told RH Reality Check that LB 1032 is unnecessary legislation because information about coercion is already provided for all patients considering abortion in Nebraska. “Information should never be provided with the sole purpose of coercing, shaming, or pressuring a woman into making a decision that is not right for her,” said Allen.

Allen says that every patient at Planned Parenthood considering abortion undergoes counseling to ensure she is not subjected to duress or coercion of any kind. “Through a decision assessment tool that the patient completes, the patient is asked how her decision was made and what support system she has,” said Allen. “Our staff then reviews this assessment with the patient and if there is any indication that coercion may be taking place, our staff will provide the patient the additional resources she needs.”

The bill awaits a vote by the committee, after which it can be voted on by the full senate. Because Nebraska has a unicameral legislature, bills are only voted on by the senate before moving to the governor for signature or veto.

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  • fiona64

    Where are the signs outside that tell “sidewalk counselors” that it’s against the law to coerce someone into remaining pregnant?

    • Laurie A

      Right! It applies to both sides.

    • Anon rust

      Yeah, I was going to say there should also be a sign that states “No one can force you to carry a pregnancy to term”.

      But that wouldn’t exactly be true now, would it? [re: The Rio Grande Valley, Texas]

      • fiona64

        Your point is well taken. As another poster (I wish I could recall who …) put it:

        When is a choice not a choice?

        When Rick Perry makes it for you.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Yes, where are the signs and the legislation advising “sidewalk counselors” that shrieking at women is not counseling and instead might well constitute harassment?

  • Encopretic

    Why wouldn’t you support this law?

    If you’re truly pro-choice you should want the person to make the decision without being coerced into abortion. I don’t see how a sign on the wall would dissuade anybody from having an abortion that truly wants one.

    • OldWoman

      If the law requires CPCs to have a sign, of equal visibility, stating that it is illegal for anyone to coerce you into giving birth, sure! Equal signs for everyone!

      But that won’t happen, will it?

    • fiona64

      The point is that CPCs, which are NOT medical facilities, and are notable for their coercive tactics are not held the same standard. Neither are the so-called “sidewalk counselors” who shriek in women’s faces outside clinics.

      • Encopretic

        What’s a CPC?

        The was just a buffer law passed. I guess that is the equivalent.

        • Jennifer Starr

          A ‘crisis pregnancy center’–aka fake clinic.

        • fiona64

          “Crisis Pregnancy Center” … in other words, a fake medical clinic that tries to coerce women into remaining pregnant and, quite specifically, to surrender their children (if Caucasian) for adoption.

          • Encopretic

            According to lady_black (see below) it isn’t coercion unless there is a gun pointed at your head, legally speaking.

          • lady_black

            Legally, it’s not coercion. However, I hold a very dim view of fake medical clinics that tell lies to scared girls in order to influence their decision. Trying to influence a person’s decision (if they are willing to listen to you) doesn’t translate into “coercion.” I simply pointed out that a father threatening to cut off support for an adult daughter if she decides to carry a pregnancy is NOT “coercion” and neither is the nonsense that comes out of the mouth of people who work at CPCs. I don’t object to their mission. I object to their lies and trickery.

          • Encopretic

            ok, but why in the world would a person who is seeking an abortion willingly go to one of these CPCs of they don’t actually provide abortions? Are people really that stupid?

            Come to think about it, people are that stupid, so I guess that’s a rhetorical question.

          • lady_black

            Yes, people REALLY are that stupid, and now some states want to compel women seeking abortions to visit one. These scammers routinely give themselves deceptive names, like “A Woman’s Choice” and advertise under abortion services.

          • Encopretic

            There’s an easy fix for that. Call planned parenthood and get a referral. I doubt PP is going to refer anyone to one of these places.

          • lady_black

            That’s a great idea. Now if we could just keep politicians from shutting them down…

          • fiona64

            but why in the world would a person who is seeking an abortion willingly
            go to one of these CPCs of they don’t actually provide abortions?

            Because they deceptively list themselves in phone directories under “abortion services.” Or get offices next to women’s clinics. Or some anti-choice nutbag politician demands that a woman seeking an abortion get “counseling” from the non-professionals at a CPC.

          • HeilMary1

            They don’t advertise their true mission.

          • anja

            CPC’s usually advertise with slogans like “Pregnant? You have choices!” but they only offer one choice. Carry to term and then possibly put it up for adoption if they cant talk/shame you into keeping it.
            They place adds in directories under “Abortion Services” yet provide none. Sometimes the say things like “abortion referrals if needed” but that never happens as according to them, that service is NEVER needed.

          • lady_black

            Exactly, and the “poop retainer” knows that.

          • lady_black

            And oh, by the way please refrain from misquoting me. I said “A gun to the head is coercion, legally speaking.” Which is DISTINCTLY different from saying “It isn’t coercion unless there is a gun pointed to your head.” Coercion (like murder) is a LEGAL concept, and if you would like edification on the subject, please begin by consulting a legal dictionary. They are available online.

          • fiona64

            Yeah, that’s not even remotely what she said.

            I am no longer even surprised when anti-choice concern trolls do stuff like this …

        • goatini

          You mean, your mommy the (alleged) nurse didn’t tell you about these outfits that offer no medical services whatsoever?

  • red_zone

    I can see the coercion angle, but there needs to be some strict stipulations attached, too. Like a law prohibiting any outside party from coercing a pregnant woman from making any decision regarding her personal well-being that she I not comfortable with. If those who fight against abortion through duplicity try to coerce and LIE to a pregnant women in order to get her to stay pregnant because it’s what THEY want, then they need to be held to the same standard.

  • Lynnsey

    I hope everyone sees the irony here…

    I mean, what kind of monsters would try to forcefully influence women’s decisions about their reproductive health care, right?

  • HeilMary1

    Forced birthers should be compelled to inform women about all the grisly, deadly, bankrupting and divorce-causing disfigurements of childbirth, including stinky bladder and bowel incontinence, face and breast cancers caused by female fetuses, flesh eating bacteria limb amputations, and molestation of unwanted kids by priests.

  • goatini

    Concern troll is concerned.

    • Encopretic

      You’re not concerned about women being coerced onto having an abortion they don’t want?

      What kind of sick fuck Teapublican are you?

      • fiona64

        What kind of sick fuck Teapublican are you?

        Were you looking in the mirror when you wrote that?

        Where’s your concern for women coerced into remaining pregnant if they don’t want to?

      • lady_black

        This is NOT coercion. For whatever reason, parents of adult children are not obligated to provide material and emotional support for an ill-timed pregnancy. Do you want the law to insist they must? This isn’t going to do it. And realistically, this is not going to happen. The woman has made a decision that going forward with a pregnancy where she lacks financial and emotional support. It happens every day. They would rather not be in that position. Believe me, I get it. Neither would I. But that doesn’t translate into coercion. A gun to the head is coercion, legally speaking.

      • goatini

        We were wondering where all the forced-birther trolls were for this year’s 40 Days Of Harassment, Stalking, and Hate Speech Against Female Citizens’ Civil Rights.

        Now becoming obvious that this year’s tactic is trolling reproductive justice sites with fake “Pro-Choice” personas.

  • L-dan

    If putting up signs lets someone like that 19 year-old realize they have a case against their coercive family, ok. But I don’t think it does or will. I doubt the law is written so as to compel the parents of legally-adult children to support them if they want to have children.

    I think it’s appalling to treat your kids in that fashion, but I don’t think this is going to solve that. If the patient says “I don’t want this,” the clinic will say that’s fine they won’t do it (unless you’re in the middle of things…there’s a point where it would be much more dangerous to not complete the procedure) . In order for that woman to have had an abortion, she had to have agreed to it.

  • fiona64

    Where’s your concern for the coercive tactics of CPCs, which are not medical facilities?

    Non-existent? Yeah, that’s about what I thought.

  • lady_black

    Whether “daddy” thinks she ought to have an abortion or not is irrelevant. The ultimate decision belongs to the 19 year old. While I believe that doesn’t make her father “Father of The Year” material, neither is he obligated to provide material support for a pregnant adult child. It’s his right, for whatever reason, to cut her off. Therefore, she chose to abort because she lacked material and emotional support for carrying to term. That’s an unfortunate choice women make every day. What do you propose? A law forcing parents, husbands and significant others to be overjoyed and supportive of an ill-timed pregnancy? Yeah, good luck with that.

    • Arekushieru

      Then he should not be there ‘ensuring’ that the abortion takes place. HE is the one creating the situation that ensures she has an abortion, after all. Where is his responsibility for his actions, at the least? Kinda reminds me, unfortunately, of the God (not mine) from the Bible. Placing a tree in front of Adam and Eve telling them not to eat from it, then ‘cutting off’ His support once they ate from it, is somewhat similar in that regard….

      • lady_black

        Um… he’s allowed to be misogynistic and anti-choice. Look, I’m not saying I agree with the father’s actions here. I’m saying that his actions are legal, and that this sort of thing happens all the time. We aren’t going to change that. Personally, I would have told him to go fuck himself and signed up for welfare. The girl in this situation could have done the same thing. “Daddy” would probably change his mind after his grandchild was born (or maybe not, but that’s his loss). What she CAN’T do is force her father to be supportive. WE can’t force others to do what WE think would be best, or we’re hypocrites.

  • anja

    How is this fair! Coercion is the anti-choice crowd’s number one tactic. No one make the protesters wear signs that say “It’s against the law for anyone to interfere with a legal medical service.” or “The images in this poster do not represent actual scenes. Do not let them confuse you into making the wrong choice.” or “The services provided at this CPC clinic are not authentic medical services, do not enter if you wish reproductive health care.”

    • lady_black

      And what they do at CPCs isn’t legally coercion either. It’s dishonest and disingenuous. But it’s not coercion.

      • anja

        I disagree. Legally coercion is the compulsion, force, or duress either
        actual, or implied, where the relation of the parties is such that one
        is under subjection to the other, and is thereby constrained or induced
        to do what their free will would refuse. It is implied that patients are
        subject to their doctors or councilors and the baseless threats by
        these people of of hell, mental illness, or breast cancer, etc are
        coercive tactics used with the intent to change the mind of the patient.

        • lady_black

          Sorry. that doesn’t meet the legal definition of coercion. Those arguments are neither forceful nor particularly compelling. “I’m going to kill you” or “I’m going to beat the hell out of you” would meet the definition of coercion. Fanciful tales about lakes of fire, or increased risk of mental illness or cancer are non-compelling, because they can easily be solved by merely looking into the matter.

          • anja

            Sorry but you are wrong!

          • lady_black

            No anja, I’m correct. Women have to take some kind of responsibility to look out for their own best interests, because if they don’t, nobody else will. I want to empower women to stand up for themselves and be doers, not “done to.”

        • HeilMary1

          They’re committing unlicensed medical fraud.

          • lady_black

            If anyone there makes a statement indicating that they are a medical professional and they are not, that is fraud and a separate crime of impersonating a doctor, nurse or whatever the case may be.

        • lady_black

          Where is that “implied?” If I don’t have a good feeling about a doctor or a counselor, I tell them they’re full of schitt, and get up and walk out! I’ve done it! What are they going to DO about it if one of their “clients” get up and walk out? Nothing. There’s nothing they CAN do. That’s free will. Therefore not coercion. Why do you persist in treating women like the hapless imbeciles that the anti-choice insist we are. You’re not helping. Look, I hate CPCs. But they do not have the ability to coerce. They lie, mislead, and do not offer any real medical services. They ought to have to post signs stating that they are NOT medical facilities, because that’s truth in advertising. Other than that, they can legally say whatever they want, because you know, free speech. Nobody is forced to listen to them. Furthermore, I’ve read in different accounts that they can be insulting and demeaning to women. That right there is a red flag that should tell the woman to get up and walk out. Here’s another thing we can’t do: protect women from their own stupidity.

  • lady_black

    This is sort of a non-story. Let’s define “coercion.” Coercion involves the use of FORCE, or intimidation to illegally restrain the freedom of another. Threats to: commit a crime, accuse someone of a crime, threatening to divulge something that would damage a person’s reputation are examples of coercion. Simply telling lies that aren’t of a threatening nature, invoking religious or social consequences,, or withdrawing support if a person makes a displeasing decision are NOT coercion. Since I don’t believe women are being taken to abortion clinics with guns pointed at their heads, this isn’t much of a factor. If a woman truly fears for her safety, she can be directed to law enforcement or battered women’s services, if she doesn’t want an abortion. If what she wants most is the abuser, you can’t do much about that, other than letting her know of safe places she can go.