By Nate Jenkins
“Abortion-rights advocates see hypocrisy where foes see a fair and logical distinction between two landmark bills likely to get final approval in the Nebraska Legislature within the next two weeks.
One measure would require women seeking abortions to first be screened to determine whether they’re at risk of having mental or physical problems after the procedure. The other would ban abortions at 20 weeks and not allow mental health problems to be used as a reason to have an abortion after that time. A national abortion-rights group closely watching the two bills and is considered a likely participant in legal action should they pass says the lack of a mental-health exception in Flood’s bill is a major reason why it is legally vulnerable. ‘The court has been clear you have to have an exception for mental health,’ said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. ‘This bill treats mental health as if it’s not a health issue.’ She said differences in how mental health is regarded in the legislation creates a clear conflict, and that the intent of each is really to limit access to abortions. Northup, with the Center for reproductive Rights, said ‘science is indeterminate’ about whether fetuses feel pain at that point.”