METHODS OF ABORTION:
Early abortions are performed by suctioning or cutting the unborn child away from the uterine wall. The two most common second and third trimester abortions 1) utilizes an instrument with sharp metal jaws to grasp parts of the child's body, tear it away from the remainder of the body and remove it. The unborn child's skull must be crushed before removal. 2) guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps. The baby's legs are pulled out into the birth canal. The baby is then delivered except for the head. Scissors are jammed into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole. A suction tube is inserted and the baby's brains are sucked out. The dead baby is then removed. Other late term abortions involve injection of one substance to kill the child and another to induce labor.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS:
U.S. Supreme Court: On January 22, 1973, in two separate decisions (Roe vs. Wade, Doe vs. Bolton), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion would be legal in all 50 states according to the following guidelines:
First Trimester: The abortion decision is left entirely to the woman and her physician.
Second Trimester: A state may enact laws in ways related only to the woman's health.
Third Trimester: Abortions may be prohibited after "viability" unless the mother's health or life would be affected. The key issue of this is that the court went on to define "health" in Doe vs. Bolton to mean, "…the medical judgment may be exercised in light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient."
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee: Following exhaustive research, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee concluded the following in a report dated June 7, 1983: "Thus, no significant barriers of any kind whatsoever exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy."
Nebraska Right to Life and its affiliate chapters believe in the respect for life from fertilization until natural death. As such, we oppose abortion, except in the cases to save the life of the mother. Therapeutic abortions, those abortions done to save the life of the mother, are almost nonexistent in today's medical climate. If the mother's life were threatened, a conscientious physician would try to save both mother and baby. In the rare case where such a decision is needed, the problem would be that of balancing one human life against another.
NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE POSITION ON ILLEGAL ACTIVITY
Nebraska Right to Life, as the state affiliate to the National Right to Life Committee, amended its by-laws on April 22, 1989 to reflect the official position on illegal activity in regards to the pro-life movement.
The by-laws state: "No officer, director, employee or any person, local chapter or entity acting in concert with or in the name of the Nebraska Right to Life shall encourage, promote or engage in any unlawful activity related to the purposes of Nebraska Right to Life, then they are subject to be removed or disaffiliated by a majority vote of the Board of Directors of Nebraska Right to Life.
The by-laws changes reflect the strong commitment that National Right to Life and Nebraska Right to Life have to pursuing legal activities. This policy protects the corporation of Nebraska Right to Life from pro-abortion lawsuits which would drain our limited financial resources and would interfere with our ability to impact political races and pass protective legislation.
The focus of activity of other pro-life organizations that are not chapters or affiliates of Nebraska Right to Life is not within the purview of Nebraska Right to Life.
NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE POSITION ON EUTHANASIA
Since the text of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion decision by the United States Supreme Court states that states need not protect lives which are not "meaningful," the pro-life movement has believed and is now witnessing through current promotion of euthanasia that devaluation of the lives of the unborn inevitably leads to the devaluing the lives of others such as the elderly, physically and mentally impaired, and the terminally ill. The term euthanasia (which means "good death") is being stretched to encompass three quite different concepts.
DEATH WITH DIGNITY: This means allowing a patient to die a truly human death, free from the loneliness and pain often brought about by the application of "extraordinary" medical technology. It means letting death come as a deliverer when there is no hope or cure for continuation of life. This is not to say that we should neglect the dying patient. Like any other human being, he/she is entitled to medical care which is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances involved. A competent, non-suicidal individual has the right to refuse medical treatment, but not, nutrition and hydration. Decision-making for incompetent patients should be made on the basis of what treatment is available and the medical appropriateness of that treatment, and not someone's judgment of the value of that individuals life or its quality.
MERCY KILLING: As opposed to permitting the dying to die naturally, mercy killing entails the intentional use of means intended to cause death or speed its coming. It can include giving a terminally ill patient a drug with the express intention of causing death, or it can include withdrawing "ordinary" (reasonable and prudent) medical care, i.e., allowing Mongoloid children to die of pneumonia. They say the suffering of the incurably or painfully ill (and/or defective) persons should not be prolonged or that others should not have to watch someone suffer.
DEATH SELECTION: (Killing as a medial management option). This involves the deliberate termination of lives no longer considered "socially useful." "Managerial euthanasia" of this variety is the most menacing type of euthanasia, because it is rooted in a hard-core utilitarianism which sees no value beyond social utility. Managerial euthanasia threatens a wide rage of people - the habitual criminal, the aged, the mentally ill, the retarded or anyone who is not deemed socially and economically productive.
Managerial euthanasia is the "sleeper" of the euthanasia debate. Although some "social engineers" openly advocate killing for utilitarian reasons, most euthanasia advocates, at least for the moment, would stop with "mercy killing." This makes it unclear exactly how the managerial elite would eliminate the "useless." Overt killing would certainly have its place in their program, but is more likely that more subtle methods would be used; withdraw or withholding of ordinary preventative and/or restrictive medical care for certain categories of people "prioritizing" the use of health care resources to favor those considered more useful; and curtailing health research and development efforts in low priority areas, such as geriatric medicine.
The terms "death with dignity," "mercy killing," and "managerial euthanasia" are more helpful than the more commonly used categories (such as negative and positive euthanasia, voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, etc.) because they focus on those who promote one or more variations of euthanasia. But we must understand all the terms now in vogue and not allow the true nature of the controversy to be distorted or obscured by these terms.
For instance, "death with dignity" is frequently used to encompass more than the term as we defined it. Just as much of the abortion rhetoric was designed to make an ugly thing look beautiful, terms like "death with dignity" provide a good disguise for calculated killing. With this in mind, we must be extremely careful how we use this term.
The living will bandwagon is a precursor to euthanasia. Once concept is established in law, it could be expanded to include death requested on behalf of a patient by relatives, physicians or an agency of the state.
NRL Position: We oppose euthanasia and the removal of food or water from patients and oppose most Living Will legislation.
NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE POSITION ON INFANTICIDE
WHAT THE LAW SAYS: In response to national publicity surrounding the withholding of food and medical treatment to infants in Indiana and New York, the U.S. Congress enacted the Child Abuse Amendments in 1984 and again in 1988. States wishing to receive federal child abuse funds must define as medical neglect with withholding of medically indicated treatment from handicapped infants with life-threatening conditions.
Nebraska continues to receive these federally funded child abuse funds, although implementation of a solid system for processing these cases through Child Protective Services and preventing the withholding of treatment remains incomplete.
Nebraska Right to Life believes that the presence or anticipation of a mental or physical disability does not justify the withholding or withdrawing of medical care. We oppose infanticide, the taking of a baby's life upon or after birth by non-treatment or neglect. Society has the right and duty to intervene on behalf of minors and other incompetent individuals where life is in jeopardy and effective treatment is available.
Nebraska Right to Life has long been concerned with the practice of withholding or withdrawing medical care based on an individual's mental or physical capabilities, a concern shared by numerous disabilities groups.
Films, videos and educational materials are available from Nebraska Right to Life.
NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE POSITION ON CONTRACEPTION,
CARING FOR THE WOMAN AND RELIGIOUS ISSUE
CONTRACEPTION: Nebraska Right to Life and its affiliate chapters oppose abortion, which destroys a human life already begun, but remains officially neutral about contraception, which prevents a life from coming into existence. A popular scare tactic often used is that pro-lifers want to take away all forms of contraception. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Pro-abortion organizations are inclined to represent abortion as a method of birth control, and indeed statistics reflect their success. It is necessary to emphasize the distinction between them. This can be best done by focusing on abortion as the destruction of a living human being, while pointing out that contraception, which prevents a human life from being conceived, is a separate question.
Abortion advocates sometimes confuse the issues by applying the terms "birth control" and "family planning" to practices which take the lives of unborn babies in the early states of their development. Drugs and devices that operate post-conception are abortifacients and are not true contraceptives. As such, NRL opposes abortifacient methods of birth control, such as the abortion pill RU486, because it takes the life of the baby after conception.
CARING ABOUT THE WOMAN: NRL is non-judgmental when it comes to women who have had abortions. We believe that women are also victims of abortion and have been exploited for money by the abortionists and for a cause by militant feminists. NRL supports the fostering of Post Abortion Syndrome counseling groups to assist women who are coming to grips with their abortion decision, oftentimes many years after the fact.
ABORTION AS A RELIGIOUS ISSUE: While most pro-lifers come to their belief through faith, the introduction of religious aspects when discussing the issue with the secular media, only serves to discredit the cause. This is not to say that prayer and witnessing does not have its place in the movement, as we all know its effectiveness. NRL's position when dealing with the media and secular public is to refrain from talking about abortion as a religious issue and to emphasize it from the standpoint of it being a human rights issue. It is easier for abortion advocates to dismiss us as "religious zealots," but if we use the scientific facts and other truths we have behind us, it is harder for them to discount the issue. Being logical, factual and professional in our presentation makes it difficult for them to discredit us.