LINCOLN — A bill that would require parental consent before a minor girl could get an abortion remained in committee following a Tuesday vote.
But State Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, who introduced Legislative Bill 690, said she still hopes to get the measure out for debate this year.
“It’s not over yet,” she said.
Her bill would go a step beyond a long-standing Nebraska law requiring notification of at least one parent when a girl 17 or younger seeks an abortion.
Under LB 690, minors would have to have written, notarized consent from a parent or guardian to get an abortion.
As with current law, the bill would allow young women to go before a judge to seek a waiver of the requirement.
The measure could emerge from committee if Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha decides to support it. He abstained during Tuesday’s vote.
Harr said he wants more time to research the constitutionality of proposed changes in the language governing the judicial waiver.
Current law requires judges to consider whether an abortion is in the girl’s best interest. LB 690 would require the judge to look at whether notifying a parent is in a girl’s best interest.
Four other committee members voted to advance the bill, and three voted against advancement. It takes five votes to advance bills from the eight-member committee.
Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha questioned the need for a change from the current law.
There is no indication that parental notifications are not working to get parents involved with their children’s decisions and nothing to suggest the bill would reduce the number of abortions, she said.
But Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln said the change is as much about providing support for girls in a difficult situation as about reducing abortions.
Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha said he supports the bill as a father of four daughters.
“I think parents deserve to say, ‘I consent,’” he said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Brad Ashford, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said the committee may vote on a second abortion bill next week.
LB 521 would block the use of telemedicine in providing drug-induced abortions.
The measure, introduced by Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln, is aimed at preventing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland from replicating an Iowa program in areas of Nebraska without an abortion provider.
In Iowa, a woman can go to one of 16 clinics, get a pregnancy test, undergo an ultrasound and be examined by a nurse. The patient then talks with a doctor via the Internet on a private computer. The doctor can remotely open a container to provide her with two medications used to induce an abortion.
Anti-abortion groups have stepped up lobbying efforts for the bill following an announcement last week that Planned Parenthood plans to open six clinics outside Lincoln and Omaha.
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