Nebraska lawmakers advance abortion ban opposed by majority of voters

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Published Tuesday, March 29, 2022
by Eric Galatas

(Nebraska News Connection) Nebraska is on track to ban all abortions in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

On Friday, lawmakers rescued Legislative Bill 933, which had stalled in the Judiciary Committee, using a rarely-used administrative procedure.

Scout Richters, legal and policy counsel for the ACLU of Nebraska, opposes the measure, and said every Nebraskan should be free to make health decisions that are best for themselves and their families.

"And by pushing through LB 933, politicians are inserting themselves into health care decisions that should belong to Nebraskans," Richters asserted.

Gov. Pete Ricketts welcomed the move by lawmakers to pull the measure out for debate, and promised to sign the bill if passed. The nation's highest court is expected to issue a decision sometime this year which could overturn its 1973 ruling the U.S. Constitution protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

The measure would make it a felony for anyone to provide medication or perform procedures to end a pregnancy, starting at fertilization, before women even know they are pregnant.

Richters pointed to recent data showing a strong majority of Nebraskans believe abortion should stay safe and legal in the state, and said lawmakers are out of step with voters.

"Nebraska voters oppose the proposed ban, LB 933, by a double-digit margin," Richters reported. "And in that same poll, most respondents said that the U.S. Supreme Court should not overturn Roe v. Wade."

Richters argued when someone has made the decision to get an abortion, regardless of their reasoning, the government should not stand in their way. She added banning access to the procedure altogether, even in cases of incest or rape, would force many Nebraskans who cannot afford to travel out of state to carry a pregnancy against their will.

"Nebraska's laws already impose significant barriers on Nebraskans who are seeking abortion care," Richters contended. "And we know that those barriers fall hardest on those who are working to make ends meet, people of color, young people, people in rural areas."

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