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By Deb Fischer
U.S. Senator 

A Landmark Pro-Life Ruling

 

There was recently a momentous victory for life when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on June 24, 2022. This marked an amazing day for our nation and a huge victory for the pro-life movement.

In a 6-3 ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court upheld a Mississippi state law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of gestation except in certain cases. The court also affirmed that there is no constitutional right to abortion.

Both conservative and liberal legal scholars have long questioned the legal reasoning in Roe v. Wade. Following the justices’ ruling, policy-making decisions on the issue of abortion will be returned to state lawmakers.

For my entire life and throughout my time in public service, I have supported pro-life policies that show compassion for women and their unborn children.

In 2010, when I represented District 43 in the Nebraska Legislature, we enacted a bill that banned abortions after 20 weeks. At the time, this was the point at which science showed unborn babies could feel pain. The bill passed 44-5. Pro-life, pro-choice, Republican, and Democrat senators voted for it. Nebraska was the first state to enact legislation of this kind, and it is our state law today.

For decades, America’s federal policies on abortion have been radically out of step with the rest of the world. Ninety percent of countries worldwide limit abortion at 15 weeks or earlier. But the U.S. does not. We are one of only four countries, including China and North Korea, where certain states allow abortions up to the day of birth. Forty-seven out of 50 countries in Europe have limits on abortion prior to 15 weeks.

A lot has changed since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Roe case and even since Nebraska enacted its 20-week law.

Fifty years ago, ultrasounds and sonograms weren’t widely available. Today, these technologies are a key element of prenatal care. At the time of the Roe decision, babies born before or around 28 weeks were not expected to survive. Now, scientific advancements have allowed babies born much earlier to not only survive, but go on to live full and happy lives. Our laws must reflect this incredible progress.

When we think about demonstrating our compassion for women and babies, I think it’s important to raise awareness of the resources out there to provide support. In Nebraska, we have more than 20 pregnancy centers across the state. There are also non-profits like Birth Mother Assistance Nebraska and Nebraskans Embracing Life that offer information, resources, and help. At the federal level, we have the Healthy Start program for women, infants and children, which improves health outcomes before, during and after pregnancy. There’s also the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program that supports pregnant women and parents in communities that face greater risks.

In 2017, my paid family leave program was enacted. It was the first-ever U.S. nationwide paid family leave policy. Through this program, Americans can take maternity or paternity leave to bond with a biological or adopted newborn.

I have also long supported the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program and the National School Lunch program. Additionally, I recently supported extending flexibility for summer and school lunch programs. These are important programs for our kids and families.

I look forward working with my colleagues on pro-life legislation in Congress. I also think it’s important to remember that this is a complex issue and it’s going to take good-faith and empathy to address it.

I am grateful for our Supreme Court Justices who showed courage in making this landmark decision. I’m very optimistic about the future of this country and the future of the pro-life movement.

I pray that God grants the citizens of this nation wisdom, grace, and civility in the wake of this monumental ruling.

 

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