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Nebraska voters: Reproductive health legislation impacts more than you think

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While Nebraskans struggle with increasing costs of goods, labor shortages, and more, politicians have spent a lot of time talking about reproductive health and the role of government in medical decisions. These might seem like separate concerns facing Nebraskans, but they are deeply connected.

Despite many Nebraskans having strong personal beliefs about abortion, reproductive health legislation goes beyond abortion. Reproductive health including fertility care, pregnancy care and abortion, and a prosperous future for Nebraska is very much on the ballot this year. Below are three ways this legislation would affect all Nebraskans and our economy:

1. Putting the lives of 400,000 Nebraskans at risk.

2. Making it harder to recruit top-tier healthcare providers.

3. Contributing to brain drain.

First, abortion bans are dangerous to all people who can get pregnant—not just those seeking abortions. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the post abortion ban experience in Texas. Clinicians interviewed expressed an inability to help patients with life limiting fetal diagnoses, cesarean section ectopic pregnancies, and previable preterm rupture of membranes. A 2021 Duke University Press study estimated that “banning abortion in the U.S. would lead to a 21% increase in the number of pregnancy-related deaths overall and a 33% increase among Black women. Mandates that create barriers to reproductive healthcare put the lives of the nearly 400,000 Nebraskans of child-bearing age at risk.

Second, recently a bill was introduced into the Nebraska legislature that sought to criminalize healthcare practitioners for doing their job. Nebraska is already dangerously affected by the lack of obstetric providers. Over 66.3% of Nebraska counties are described as “maternity care deserts” as they have no obstetric providers or hospitals offering obstetric care. This lack of providers and services already affects over 100,000 women in Nebraska. Passing a ban that criminalizes physicians will make it even harder to recruit and retain physicians—exacerbating the already dangerous shortage.

Lastly, the number of young people and companies who leave our state each year is hurting our economy. A Gallup poll looked at attitudes about abortion and saw an increase in individuals who believe abortion should be legal among all age groups surveyed. However, the most significant increase was among 18- to 29-year-olds whose belief that abortion should be legal increased by 25 percentage points. An abortion ban will drive young professionals away from Nebraska. And it’s not just individuals who will seek work in states where their bodily autonomy is protected, it’s employers too. A recent Forbes-Zogby poll surveyed 150 manufacturing executives—1 in 5 executives expressed that the post Roe landscape has led them to change where to start or continue their businesses.

The fact is this: The future of a healthy and prosperous Nebraska hinges on those elected this November. Voting for candidates who will protect Nebraskans’ rights to make their own healthcare decisions is good for Nebraska medically and economically. Visit CampaignForAHealthyNebraska.org to learn which candidates share these values and will protect the spectrum of reproductive healthcare.

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