Nebraskans raise voices on both sides at the “heartbeat count” hearing.

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) — It’s an issue that leaves little room for defense, and you may see and hear it Wednesday in and around the Nebraska capital.

A line of people lined the hallways most of the day in line to enter the Health and Human Services hearing room for a chance to speak for or against a tightening of the state’s abortion law.

State Senator Joni Albrecht introduced LB 626 known as the “Nebraska Heartbeat Act” to the Committee on Health and Human Services.

“Before performing an abortion, a doctor must do an ultrasound to listen for a fetal heartbeat,” Albrecht said. “If a heartbeat is detected, performing an abortion is illegal except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.”

The act would ban abortion after about six weeks, when the heart begins to form.

Crowds of supporters and opponents showed up Wednesday, well over a hundred hoping to testify.

Organizations such as Planned Parenthood and ALCU of Nebraska oppose the bill.

Currently, Nebraska bars abortions after 20 weeks, but for elder Taylor Hickey that’s nowhere near enough of a restriction, a blanket ban argues.

“I think at least the passage of this bill will give space for further conversation,” Hickey said.

For those on the other side, like Noel Tonniges, it’s a matter of personal freedom. He said the bill would amount to a near-total ban as many women don’t know they are pregnant for six weeks.

“Being able to choose what happens to my body, especially as a young woman, accounts like this directly prohibit the potential that I have,” Tonniges said.

Testimony went on late into the night on Wednesday, but no action was taken.

In the coming weeks, the Committee on Health and Human Services may vote to send the bill to the unicameral floor for a full debate.

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