When Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman signed the country’s first 20 week abortion ban back in 2010, he was eager to prove his stripes as a “pro-life” legislator.
That same session, he also vetoed Medicaid funds that would provide prenatal care for undocumented pregnant women, saying he couldn’t support any taxpayer dollars going to illegal immigrants, despite the fact that their children would in fact be citizens of the country.
When the unicameral legislature originally enacted the ban, they soon tried to find other ways to fund prenatal care for undocumented women rather than through taxpayer funds after learning how dire the consequences could be for the babies if a woman didn’t have access to health care. They were told about a “4 percent death rate during the first year of life for those babies whose mothers had no prenatal care at all. The high death rate has many factors, including that mothers who don’t get prenatal care may be less likely to take their children to doctors after birth. But prenatal care does play a role,” too, the health expert informed them.
Still Heineman’s threat to veto any bill that tried to get funding to these women kept the politicians at bay. This, despite the fact that doctors were reporting women who were choosing to have abortions rather than continue their pregnancies because they couldn’t afford prenatal care.
Now, two years later, the state legislature is once more fighting to bring back prenatal care, and they have a near veto proof majority to make it happen. And the governor, angry, is calling out fellow anti-abortion Republican legislators for putting healthy pregnancies and babies over the state’s strict anti-immigrant stance.
Vowing that he won’t let the state become a “magnet for illegal aliens,” Heineman is attacking bill sponsor Mike Flood, one of the most staunch anti-choice politicians in the state. “Unless you and the Legislature reverse course, the legacy of this session will be one in which illegals were given preferential treatment over legal Nebraska citizens…This will be a session remembered for a tax increase on legal, working Nebraskan men and women while illegal aliens were provided taxpayer-funded benefits.”
The restoration of funding passed at exactly the same number of votes needed to override a veto. If Heineman can pull off just one legislator, he can deny the funds again, and he is anxious to make that happen.
Can we really believe that politicians are “pro-life” when they are willing to sacrifice babies in order to deny health care to undocumented pregnant women? When they are so anxious to keep immigrants out of their state that they would rather see women abort than have babies? And especially when those babies would then get citizenship?
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