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Nebraska Legislature Votes to Override Governor’s Veto, Restores Prenatal Care for Immigrant Women

by Van Le on 04/20/2012 at 6:18pm

Um, what?  Conservatives given a chance to war against women and immigrants—and deciding not to take it?

It was last week that we first heard about a bill in Nebraska that extends prenatal care to undocumented women, thereby setting up a great clash between the issues of immigration and abortion.  From Fox News Latino:

The measure has made opponents of typical allies, with Republican Gov. Dave Heineman pushing hard against the proposal, even while noting his strong opposition to abortion. The Republican speaker of the Legislature, Mike Flood, has taken the opposite position, supporting the measure while stating that he has always been against illegal immigration.

The measure would require the state to pay for prenatal care to low-income women who have entered the U.S. illegally. It would extend coverage to an estimated 1,162 fetuses each year at a cost of $650,000 in state money and $1.9 million in federal tax dollars.

The debate seemed to completely flummox Nebraska state legislators: did they hate undocumented immigration more or less than they cared for the rights of the unborn?  “It’s a matter of weight in an issues balance,” Victor Landa at NewsTaco wrote.  “What’s more important, abortion or immigration? The health of the unborn or sovereignty of the U.S. borders?

The anti-abortion group Nebraska Right to Life rallied in favor of the bill, and the Nebraska Legislature—famously the only unicameral state legislature in the country passed LB 599 by a 31-15 vote.

State Governor Dave Heineman (R) promptly vetoed it: “I oppose providing taxpayer benefits to illegal immigrants,” he said in a press release. “I oppose providing taxpayer funding to vendors that perform or promote abortions.” According to Think Progress, Planned Parenthood does not provide prenatal services at its Nebraska clinics.

Fortunately, the Legislature rallied yesterday to override to governor’s vote, 30-16, restoring prenatal care to “an estimated 1,162 unborn babies each year.”

We spend a lot of time calling people out on this blog because, well, they deserve it.  We also like to lift up, however, those who fight the good fight.  Here’s to the Nebraska legislature: thanks for taking a stand.

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