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Abortion Bans


Nebraska outlaws abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.  Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-3,102 to 111 (Enacted 2010).

Nebraska's law makes abortion after 20 weeks a felony, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.  Physicians in violation of the law would also be subject to up to five years imprisonment and/or fines up to $10,000, and disciplinary action which may include license suspension or revocation.  In addition, the law allows the parents or husband of the pregnant woman to bring a civil suit for damages against the physician.  It also allows the woman, her parents, her husband, her siblings, her other health-care providers, or the state attorney general to file for injunctive relief blocking the abortion provider from providing future abortion care after 20 weeks.  Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-3,102 to 111 (Enacted 2010).

Nebraska also has an unconstitutional and unenforceable ban that outlaws abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks, which makes any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition a felony, and subjects physicians who provide such a procedure to automatic license suspension, license revocation, or other professional sanction.  The law has an exception if an abortion is necessary to save a woman's life endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.  Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-326(9) (Enacted 1997), 28-328 (Enacted 1997), 38-179 (Enacted 1997), 38-196 (Enacted 1997).

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down this ban because it:  (1) imposed an undue burden upon a woman's right to choose because it banned more than one procedure and (2) had no exception to protect a woman's health.  Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).  The court made clear that a health exception must protect women against both the health risks caused by pregnancy and health risks caused by a regulation that forces a woman to choose a less medically appropriate procedure.

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure. Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.

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