State Attorney General Jon Bruning is giving us a severe case of conservative whiplash. The last time we did a double take this fast was when John McCain said he wasn’t a maverick. Bruning is now backing away from LB 594 when just last week he was trumpeting the law.
LB 594 requires mental health screenings of any woman seeking an abortion and sets up a series of obstacles and potential lawsuits for doctors. Because these obstacles are nearly insurmountable, it’s clear that the law was a backdoor attempt to ban abortion. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit, and U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled to temporarily block the law.
When Planned Parenthood first filed the lawsuit, Bruning said, “We are confident the law will stand.” Now he’s considering abandoning defense of the new law altogether. From confident to apathetic in less than a month, Bruning’s pulled a 180 in a political nanosecond.
Bruning did suggest that the faster/cheaper path would be to have the legislature draft a new bill. Of course, we think it’d be even faster and cheaper to not do anything with this ill-conceived law and save the state ANOTHER inevitable lawsuit (let’s remember Fremont and Beatrice lawsuits are also lingering over our state and cities).
With Nebraska already facing a $751 million shortfall in the state budget and no federal stimulus funds to come to the state’s rescue this time, it might be wise to stop trying to pass laws that have more to do with ideology than solving any problems.
So while Heineman and the legislature’s ad hoc committee talk about slashing state programs to balance the budget and Heineman uses federal stimulus funds to plug budget holes (and simultaneously criticizes the stimulus), it’s good to know that we can count on those same conservative politicians to push through costly legislation like LB 594 that rack up legal fees for the taxpayers.
We might suggest if Bruning and Heineman care about reducing the amount of abortions, the one bill they might like to bring back up is the prenatal bill they successfully killed last year, putting hundreds of babies and their moms at-risk. Heineman and Bruning are claiming to be pro-life while simultaneously opposing prenatal care, and it’s definitely making this case of conservative whiplash worse.