Immigration Becomes a Reproductive Issue in Nebraska

There are a number of would-be and will-be mothers in the United States who are illegal immigrants. This fact has caused much turmoil in many states, most recently in Nebraska, where the state government was markedly divided over a prenatal care measure that would give undocumented pregnant women residents state aid during their child’s gestational period. Despite strong opposition from Governor Dave Heineman, the measure was passed in its first round of voting by the Nebraska legislature on April 3.

According to current estimates, the state would be paying for an additional 1,162 extra children’s prenatal care if the measure comes into law, wrote The Associated Press. By comparison, 25,916 babies were born, total, in the state in 2011, according to Voices of Children in Nebraska’s “Kids Count in Nebraska 2011 Report.” The measure will cost the state $650,000 annually.

Governor Heineman stated that the money needed to support these mothers without citizenship should come from churches or other local charities, according to the AP.

“I am one of the most pro-life governors in America,” Heineman said. “This is about illegal immigration, and Nebraskans know that.”

Around the country, many states have passed strict immigration laws, taking strong stances on reproductive rights similar to those voiced by government officials in Nebraska, according to New America Media. In Arizona, a state where SB 1070 has made many residents without permanent residency cards live in fear, the Senate recently passed a bill not allowing any abortions to occur after 20 weeks of gestation and nearly passed another measure that would allow employers to drop birth control from their health insurance plans. Alabama passed a similar ban on abortions occurring after the initial 20-week gestation period shortly after enacting HB 56, according to New America Media.