Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday signed into law a bill providing that physicians may notify parents of hospice care that would be available for unborn babies following the diagnosis of a lethal fetal anomaly.
The bill (LB506), introduced by Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, "reaffirms the importance of family and life," Ricketts said at a signing ceremony attended by advocates who oppose the option of abortion.
"Any parent going through the heartbreaking situation of being told that your child is not expected to live should receive information on the compassionate care available to them," the governor said.
Hospice support allows families to "embrace whatever life the baby may have," Albrecht said.
The bill refers to "perinatal hospice care," directing services at the period nearest to and following birth.
Physicians would be able to provide parents with information compiled by the state's Department of Health and Human Services pertaining to available hospice care.
"Whether it is for days, hours or even only minutes, every parent deserves the opportunity to meet their child," Nebraska Family Alliance policy director Nate Grasz said.
"It's bills like this that show being pro-life is to recognize dignity of life in mothers, fathers and children alike," said Jeff Kanger of the Nebraska Catholic Conference.
Ricketts also signed a bill (LB195) that requires health care facilities that perform mammograms to provide patients with notification of any discovery of dense breast tissue.
High breast density is a high-risk factor in the development of breast cancer.
Sen. Joni Craighead of Omaha said she introduced the bill in memory of Cheri Rauth of Omaha, who died of breast cancer a year ago.