Methodist in the Media

Some Nebraska Doctors Fear ‘Collateral Damage’ From Proposed Near-Total Abortion Ban

Published: April 12, 2023

As debate begins on a Nebraska proposal to ban nearly all abortions in the state, some medical professionals are worried about how exceptions in the law would be utilized.

Legislative Bill 626, proposed by State Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, would outlaw abortions at around six weeks when cardiac activity can be detected. Abortions are currently allowed in the state up to 20 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for the life of the mother.

Dr. Robert Bonebrake, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Omaha who testified in support of the bill, said one of LB 626’s changes includes extending the exception for the life of the mother.

The bill specifically protects “a medical judgment that could be made by a reasonably prudent physician, knowledgeable about the case and the treatment possibilities with respect to the medical conditions involved.”

“This bill actually is more favorable and friendly to physicians than the one that’s currently on the books,” Bonebrake said.

The current law includes “would,” he said, with the change providing “much more breadth and width” for physicians who feel that maternal health is threatened.

Dr. Emily Patel, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Omaha, disagreed. 

She said the introduction of LB 626 has already led to cascading fear among her patients, who are either pregnant or wish to become pregnant.

In one way or another, Patel said, almost every patient she sees brings up LB 626.

“I think it comes from a place of fear and unknown and what’s going to happen to me and my family if I’m in one of these terrible scenarios where this law might prevent me from being able to access the care that I need,” Patel said.

Nebraska Examiner: Some Nebraska Doctors Fear ‘Collateral Damage’ From Proposed Near-Total Abortion Ban
Flatwater Free Press: Eight Female Doctors Are Trying To Keep Abortion Legal in Nebraska. Will It Work?