The Nebraska legislature has passed a bill requiring mental illness screenings for women who seek abortion, purportedly to determine if they were pressured into their decision. The bill had the backing of anti-abortion activists seeking to place additional roadblocks and delays into women’s reproductive choices.
Republican Gov. Dave Heineman’s office said Monday he will sign the bill Tuesday, along with another groundbreaking abortion measure lawmakers are expected to pass then. That bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks based on the assertion that fetuses feel pain. Both bills are likely to be challenged in court. Abortion rights activists describe the measure passed Monday as a drastic shift in abortion policy that would block abortions by scaring doctors who might perform them. They say the second bill is aimed at blocking late-term abortions in one of the few states where there’s a doctor willing to perform them.
The bill requires doctors to look for “physical, psychological, emotional, demographic, or situational risks” to patients seeking the procedure.