Why Does Nebraska Think Women Are Idiots?:
Last month, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, opposed a bill that would have provided prenatal care for poor women in his state. His refusal to back the legislation was based solely on the fact that the bill would have provided such care for illegal immigrants, despite the offer from private donors to give $3 million to cover illegals. State Senator Brad Ashford, who sponsored the bill, said that he just wanted to help "unborn babies." Because the legislature lacked the votes to override an expected veto, the bill has been put on ice.

Today, Governor Heineman is expected to sign two bills passed by the legislature regarding abortion. Now, logic would seem to dictate that, since Heineman obviously could give a rat's ass if healthy babies are born, the new legislation must be something like "free abortions for everyone." Ah, but then you'd be using your thinking brain.

Because, and this is hilarious, considering Heineman's previous action, one of the bills that is about to become law (briefly, before the court challenge) contains the statement that the it is "an expression of the will of the people of the State of Nebraska and the members of the Legislature to provide protection for the life of the unborn child whenever possible." Except, of course, when that unborn child happens to be encamped in the womb of an undocumented Ecuadoran maid.

More specifically, LB594 aims to treat women who want abortions like idiot children better sent to "live with relatives," who are incapable of making rational decisions because their disruptive lady parts render them irrational. Indeed, on some level, the bill says that only sick women or those with a particular kind of crazy qualify medically for abortions. According to Section 6:

"The physician performing the abortion [must have] formed a reasonable medical judgment, documented in the permanent record, that:

"(a) The preponderance of statistically validated medical studies demonstrates that the physical, psychological, and familial risks associated with abortion for patients with risk factors similar to the patient’s risk factors are negligible risks;

"(b) Continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman greater than if the pregnancy were terminated by induced abortion; or

"(c) Continuance of the pregnancy would involve less risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman than if the pregnancy were terminated by an induced abortion."

In other words, bitch gotta be nuts if she wants an abortion. Oh, and if the doctor fucks up any of the steps in this process, he or she can be sued. That's right: "The absence of physical injury shall not preclude an award of non-economic damages including pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental suffering, emotional distress, psychological trauma, loss of society or companionship, loss of consortium, injury to reputation, or humiliation associated with the abortion."

You got that? In Nebraska, land of wheat and football and corn and cows, not only are the Republicans halting prenatal care for the precious fetuses, they're encouraging medical malpractice lawsuits. Where's your precious government intrusion now, nutzoids?

By the way, the bill contains all kinds of new rules regarding late-term abortion, and another bill Heineman will sign outlaws the procedure at 20 weeks, with no mental health exception. This one is aimed at driving the state's sole late-term abortion provider, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, out of business in Nebraska. Carhart has thought about moving shop over to Kansas in order to replace his friend, the murdered George Tiller.

And thus our American obsession with enforced pregnancy continues. It's as if it's one of the last bastions of patriarchal control, one of the dwindling number of ways that women can be kept in their place, a cause that needs a fight, with new and creative ways to halt progress. Of course, the logic of the battle, as it comes up against other conservative beliefs, keeps getting more and more perverse.