According to Americans United for Life, Nebraska is ranked in the top 10 best states for life. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Nebraska publishes a timely and extensive annual abortion report revealing a 4.3 percent decrease in abortions from 2013 to 2014.
Nebraska’s report includes a wealth of unique data. Not only does Nebraska report the common patient demographics such as age, race, and education level, but Nebraska’s report presents detailed information that other states often neglect to report. For example, Nebraska reports the number of abortions per month and the reason given for those abortions. Additionally, Nebraska’s report reveals the ancestry of patients, the length and weight of the fetus, and the patient’s gravidity.
While these data are generally interesting and rarely reported by other states, Nebraska reports a variety of health-related information as well. For instance, Nebraska publishes the number of complications and the percent of emergency situations that triggered a waiver of informed consent laws within the state (in Nebraska, emergency situations, determined by physicians, can lead to the standard informed consent procedures being waived; however, doctors are required to inform the patient of medical indications for the abortion). Furthermore, Nebraska reports the reasons for abortions at certain gestational ages as well as the number of abortions carried out due to a life-threatening medical condition of the fetus.
In their report, Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services, revealed that there were just seven instances out of 2,270 abortions where an emergency situation caused a waiver of the Nebraska informed consent law. Additionally, the report showed that 811, or 35.7 percent of the abortions were performed for women who did not report using any form of contraception. Additionally, socio-economic reasons were reported as a reason for 33 percent of abortions, patients declined to provide a reason for 16 percent of the abortions, and 14 percent of the abortions were due to contraceptive failure. The small percentage of remaining reasons included fetal anomalies, maternal life endangered, maternal physical health, mental health, and sexual assault.
This data helps illustrate why abortion reporting is so important. Access to this medical information allows policy makers, the medical community, and the general public greater understanding of the choices that women make, why they make those choices, when they make those choices, and the possible outcomes of those decisions. Therefore, Nebraska’s annual abortion report is a good example of the depth of important information collected and published for the sake of women’s health and the advancement of public health knowledge.
Rebecca Gonzales is an intern for the Charlotte Lozier Institute.