Nebraska anti-abortion bill criticized by Nebraska doctors

Nearly 50 doctors met in Omaha, criticizing the bill which aims to ban abortion at 6 weeks
Dozens of Nebraska doctors met in Omaha to voice their concerns on a proposed bill to ban abortion at six weeks.
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 5:38 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:47 AM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the now-overturned decision that gave women the federal right to an abortion.

Now 50 years later, some Nebraska doctors are standing in opposition to LB626, a bill introduced in the Unicameral that would prevent abortions after cardiac activity is detected around the sixth week of pregnancy.

A common theme emerged from a conference held Sunday in Omaha attended by nearly 50 Nebraska doctors. Medical professionals in attendance claimed the bill does not cover medical emergencies with the same nuance that happens during their practice. OB-GYN Dr. Mary Kinyoun gave an example.

“When a patient’s water breaks prior to viability, this can have devastating neonatal outcomes and many infants do not make it to viability,” said Dr. Kinyoun. “Additionally, a pregnant woman can suffer devastating infections. So I ask you, how close to death, do we allow pregnant people to become before we perform a life-saving abortion?”

Introduced in Nebraska’s 108th Legislature is LB626, dubbed the Nebraska Heartbeat Act.

The bill targets doctors and their licenses if they provide an abortion any time after six weeks, with some exemptions.

“The three exemptions are of course, rape, incest, and the life-saving measures of a mother,” said State Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston.

On Jan. 11, Albrecht was joined by several other senators in support of the bill. Also there was Dr. Katrina Furth, who has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

“The people of Nebraska are taking a heroic step in recognizing the science that the unborn child is human who needs protection like you and I,” Dr. Furth said.

In opposition to the bill during the conference Sunday, Nebraska medical doctors said reproductive healthcare is not black or white, pointing to the complexities in the decision.

Some expressed how the bill may also push out potential OB-GYN doctors from Nebraska, a state that already has a shortage of medical providers in rural areas.

Tyne Tyson is a medical student who said she’s almost at the end of her training and ready to start her career and life. Tyson criticized the bill and the repercussions doctors would face.

“Why would I stay in a state that threatens to take that all away from me? All I want to do is my job. Providing my patients with the care they deserve,” Tyson said.

The conference Sunday comes as the Nebraska Legislature this session will decide whether to ban abortion after six weeks. An earlier effort by Sen. Albrecht failed last year by two votes.

Currently, abortion is banned after 20 weeks in Nebraska.