The Corner

Politics & Policy

Nebraska and Colorado Mull New Abortion Restrictions

Earlier this week, proponents of a new pro-life bill in the Nebraska legislature overcame the filibuster to proceed to the next stage of debate. Legislative bill 814 would ban dilation and evacuation abortions, in which an unborn child is dismembered and removed from the womb in pieces.

Almost all second-trimester abortions performed in the U.S. use the D&E method, though sometimes the unborn child receives a lethal injection prior to dismemberment and removal, and sometimes vacuum suction is used instead of or in addition to tools used for dismemberment. The Nebraska bill would prohibit only D&E abortions performed on living fetuses and with the use of forceps rather than suction.

Like nearly all pro-life legislation, the bill would punish abortionists but would prevent women who obtained abortions from being charged.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, pro-lifers are preparing for a November vote on a ballot initiative that would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks’ gestation unless a physician deemed it necessary to save the mother’s life. There are currently no gestational restrictions on abortion in Colorado.

This effort is the fourth in Colorado to enact pro-life policy via ballot initiative over the last decade. In 2008 and 2010, there were ballot initiatives to define all unborn human beings as “persons” under state law; both measures failed by a margin of about 45 percent. In 2014, pro-lifers made a similar effort to define unborn children as “persons,” this time via an amendment to the state constitution. That effort failed by a 30-point margin.

If either measure in Nebraska or Colorado were to take effect, they would almost certainly face an immediate challenge from abortion proponents, who insist that U.S. jurisprudence requires that women have access to unlimited abortion on demand.

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