Ricketts announces LB814, Nebraska’s dismemberment abortion ban

Bryce Johnson & Faith Worden, Reporter

The Nebraska State Capitol building, located in downtown Lincoln, is where Pete Ricketts and pro-life advocates in the state gathered to sign and celebrate the LB814. Photo courtesy of ‘Nebraska State Capitol.’



CW: uses graphic descriptions.

Nebraska State Senator Suzanne Geist introduced a bill in January of 2020 in order to ban the dismemberment abortion procedure. This bill was approved by the legislature on Aug. 13 by a vote of 33-8. On Saturday, Aug. 15, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and other pro-life leaders of the state gathered to sign this legislation into law. 

Medically, a dismemberment abortion is known as an intact dilation and extraction procedure. It is defined as a surgical abortion procedure that removes the fetus from the uterus. LB814 was introduced and signed in order to ban this procedure altogether in the state of Nebraska. 

With the LB814 being in place, if a dismemberment abortion is preformed, it will be considered a felony crime against the doctor, with a punishment of up to two years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 according to NTV ABC. 

Before this law was signed, Nebraska did have some restrictions on abortion such as a ban on abortions being performed over 20 weeks into the pregnancy. The only exception to this bill was if the woman’s life was endangered or if she had an underlying health condition. 

There are abortion services in Nebraska that exist such as ‘Planned Parenthood’ and ‘Care’. These organizations remain open as they provide other services such as STD testing, pregnancy testing and contraceptives. Since the LB814 is in place for banning only second trimester abortions, first trimester abortion procedures and medication abortions remain legal.  

In an interview with Governor Ricketts at a recent political meeting, he stressed the significance of this bill.  

“Nebraska is a pro-life state….and so our laws should reflect our values, and this practice of dismemberment abortion is just barbaric,” Ricketts said. Basically, it is tearing the child piece by piece, to kill the child in the womb...and this is why it is so important that we, who are a pro-life state, should end this really terrible practice of dismemberment abortion.”  

Over the years, several of Nebraska’s leaders have put an effort into being a pro-life state as Nebraska has been declared as well-known for its policies in being advocates for the unborn 

Jillian Fierro, sophomore at Burke, agrees with the LB814 and hopes that Nebraska will pass more laws like it 

“I support the ban on dismemberment abortion because I believe no unborn child should have to be pulled apart limb by limb because of their parent’s actions,” she said. Nebraska should keep passing laws like this in order to ban all types of abortion. I have heard the argument that you are just banning safe abortions, but most people will most likely not be going around getting unsafe and illegal abortions. If people that support pro-choice really cared that much about a women’s health and body, then they would not be for preforming unsafe and unsanitary abortions.” 

While there are many people in support of this pro-life legislation, there are others who have concerns. Molly Huber, a senior at Burke, disagrees with this new legislative bill.  

I feel like abortion bans aren’t progressive because there are many cases of women being raped and forced to keep the baby,” she said. Although not every abortion case is the product of rape, a lot of them are. In that instance, I don’t think that people should have a say in how the victim reacts to their trauma. If a younger girl is impregnated by her rapist and isn’t mentally or financially prepared to care for a child, then why should someone force her to go with the pregnancy.” 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the number of reported abortions has gone down a significant amount in the past several years. There has been a 19% decline from 1,058,000 abortions in 2011 to 862,000 abortions in 2017. According to a 2016 study by the CDC, unmarried women account for 86% of abortions and the majority were women in their 20s. In another study from the Guttmacher Institute in 2004, only 1% of abortions stemmed from rape cases and .5% stemmed from incest. The main reasons for getting an abortion were that the baby would drastically change the mother’s life (74%) or that the mother could not afford to have the baby (73%).  

Although Governor Ricketts views this bill as a win for the pro-life movement, he also expressed that he hopes to see further legislation passed.  

“We’ve now got the most important pro-life bill in a decade that ends dismemberment abortion. And now, what we’ll do is get together, get ready for the next legislative session, and we’ll come back for another pro-life bill.”