Nebraska was one of the first states to limit abortions at or after 5-months of pregnancy and also maintains strong informed consent and parental consent requirements, abortion clinic regulations, and restrictions on the use of taxpayer funds to pay for or subsidize abortions. Further, the state provides direct funding for ethical forms of stem-cell research.
- Nebraska bans abortions at or after 5-months (i.e.,20-weeks) gestation on the basis of the pain experienced by unborn children.
- Under Nebraska law, a physician may not perform an abortion on a woman until at least 24 hours after counseling the woman on the risks of abortion, the risks of continued pregnancy, and the probable gestational age of the unborn child. Nebraska also provides materials describing the development of the unborn child, the medical and psychological risks of abortion, available state benefits, and public and private agencies offering alternatives to abortion.
- An abortion provider who conducts an ultrasound prior to performing an abortion must display the ultrasound image of the unborn child so that the woman may see it.
- Nebraska also prohibits coercing a woman to have an abortion, and provides that such coercion is a Class III misdemeanor.
- A physician may not perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor under the age of 18 without the written, notarized consent of one parent, unless there is a medical emergency or the minor obtains a court order. If the minor is a victim of rape, incest, or abuse by a parent, she may obtain the consent of a grandparent.
- Nebraska mandates minimum health and safety standards for abortion clinics which, at any point during a calendar year, perform 10 or more abortions during a single calendar week. The regulations prescribe minimum health and safety standards for the building or facility, staffing, and medical testing of clinic employees.
- Only physicians licensed by the State of Nebraska may perform abortions.
- The state has an enforceable abortion reporting law, but does not require the reporting of information to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The measure pertains to both surgical and nonsurgical abortions and requires abortion providers to report short-term complications.
- Nebraska follows the federal standard for Medicaid funding for abortions, only permitting the use of federal or state matching Medicaid funds for abortions necessary to preserve the life of the woman or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
- State-funded prenatal services may not be used for abortion counseling, referral for abortion, or funding for abortion.
- No funds appropriated or distributed under the Nebraska Health Care Funding Act may be used for abortions, abortion counseling, or referrals for abortions. Further, these funds may not be used for research or activity using fetal tissue obtained from induced abortion or human embryonic stem cells or for the purpose of obtaining other funding for such use.
- No funding from the “Woman’s Health Initiative Fund” may be used to pay for abortions.
- Nebraska prohibits organizations that receive public funds from using those funds to provide abortions, abortion counseling, or to make referrals for abortions.
- Nebraska prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion, except in cases of life endangerment. Further, group health insurance contracts or health maintenance agreements paid for with public funds may not include abortion coverage unless an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a woman.
- Nebraska prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage within state insurance Exchanges established pursuant to the federal healthcare law, except in cases of life endangerment
- Nebraska bans so-called “telemed abortions” by requiring that a physician be present in the same room with a patient when he or she performs, induces, or attempts to perform or induce an abortion.
Legal Recognition and Protection of Unborn and Newly Born:
- Under Nebraska law, the killing of an unborn child at any stage of gestation is defined as a form of homicide. Nebraska law also provides penalties for the vehicular homicide of an unborn child.
- Nebraska criminalizes nonfatal assaults on an unborn child.
- State law maintains that any person who commits certain enumerated criminal offenses against a pregnant woman shall be punished by the imposition of the next higher penalty classification.
- The state allows a wrongful death (civil) action when an unborn child at any stage of development is killed through a third party’s negligent or criminal act.
- Nebraska law requires that “all reasonable steps, in accordance with the sound medical judgment of the attending physician, shall be employed to preserve the life of a child” who is born alive following an attempted abortion at any stage of development.
- Nebraska has a “Baby Moses” law, prohibiting the criminal prosecution of someone who relinquishes a child to an on-duty hospital employee.
- The state funds drug treatment programs for pregnant women and newborns.
- Nebraska does not prohibit human cloning or destructive embryo research, but no state facilities or funds can be used for the performance of human cloning or destructive embryo research.
- Nebraska prohibits experimentation only on an infant aborted alive and, therefore, does not prohibit experimentation on dead fetuses.
- The state provides funding for ethical forms of stem-cell research. Nebraska has also appropriated funds for biomedical research that excludes research on fetal tissue from abortions or human embryonic stem cells.
- Nebraska does not regulate assisted reproductive technologies.
End of Life Laws:
- In Nebraska, assisting a suicide is a felony.
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience:
Participation in Abortion:
- A person is not required to participate in an abortion.
- A hospital, institution, or other facility is not required to admit a woman for an abortion or to allow the performance of an abortion within its premises.
Participation in Research Harmful to Human Life:
- Nebraska currently provides no protection for the rights of healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in human cloning, destructive embryo research, and other forms of immoral medical research.
What Happened in 2013:
- Nebraska considered legislation related to abortion funding and insurance coverage of abortion.
- Nebraska appropriated funding for biomedical research, specifically excluding funding for research on fetal tissue from abortions or human embryonic stem cells.
- The state considered comprehensive conscience protections for healthcare providers.
Recommendations for Nebraska
Women’s Protection Project Priorities:
- Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act
- Parental Involvement Enhancements Act
- Child Protection Act
- Defunding the Abortion Industry and Advancing Women’s Health Act
- Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act
- Joint Resolution Commending Pregnancy Resource Centers
Legal Recognition and Protection for the Unborn:
- Prohibition on wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits
- Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act
- Human Cloning Prohibition Act
- Destructive Embryo Research Act
- Prohibition on Public Funding of Human Cloning and Destructive Embryo Research Act
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience:
- Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act