February 8, 2023

Navigating Nebraska’s Public Hearing on a Life-Saving Law

Kyle Poen, Midwest Regional Coordinator

At Nebraska’s State Capital recently, Students for Life Action (SFLAction) staff and students spent the day advocating for LB 626, the Nebraska Heartbeat Act. The bill was before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and with the invitation to testify publicly, SFLAction elbowed through huge crowds to make sure their pro-life support was heard.  

Kyle Poen, SFLAction Midwest Regional Coordinator, shared his experience on this exciting day:  

“Hundreds of people gathered at the Nebraska State Capital before the start of the Health and Human Services Committee hearing, where public comment on LB 626, the Nebraska Heartbeat Act, would be open at 1:30 P.M. 

“This bill would require an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat on patients seeking an abortion. SFLAction has mobilized in several states to back heartbeat legislation because we know that a heartbeat that can be detected as early as 6 weeks gestation brings a reality that a baby is growing, thriving, and human.  

“The hearing was divided into three sections starting with proponents, neutral comments, and wrapping up with opponents of the bill. Opponents of the bill gathered in the hallways, occasionally screaming at the top of their lungs, to which they were met by police officers who told them to quiet down as the hearing was ongoing. 

“Proponents of the bill such as myself and Taylor Hickey from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln prayed while in line to testify with each of us having two minutes to speak. There were so many people lined up to testify in favor of the bill – an encouraging showcase of the support that this life-saving law has in the state. 

“Nebraska Senators heard stories from all walks of life and organizations encouraging the passage of the bill out of committee. I provided three key points of information for the Senators to consider before casting their vote: 

  1. Currently, there is a conflict of interest where the providers of abortions, those who profit off the killing of a baby in the womb, may counsel women on whether or not to buy an abortion. 
  2. According to new polling, Millennials and Generation Z, who currently make up 1/3 of the electorate, support requiring a check for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion. 
  3. Legislators would all come together if someone in the room was having a medical emergency to try and ensure that the person’s heart would continue to beat as a sign of life. They would not consider poisoning or dismembering that person, as a contrast to what a baby experiences through an abortion. 

“After my remarks, I asked the Senators to be principled in their stance and to protect babies with a heartbeat in the womb. Check back on the SFLAction blog to read updates on this life-saving law as it moves forward!” 

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