Not enough support for abortion ban in Nebraska unicam to call special session
Gov. Pete Ricketts said Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers informed him of the count in a letter on Monday.
LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Legislature doesn’t have enough support for an abortion ban to call a special session.
That was the message in the letter Gov. Pete Ricketts received from Mike Hilgers, speaker of the Legislature, on Monday indicating 30 state senators were willing to vote in favor of an abortion ban in the state. That’s three short of the votes that would be needed in order for that vote to pass.
Those listed in the letter as supporters: Ray Aguilar, Mike Jacobson, Joni Albrecht, Kathleen Kauth, John Arch, Mark Kolterman, Bruce Bostelman, Brett Lindstrom, Tom Brandt, Lou Ann Linehan, Tom Brewer, John Lowe, Tom Briese, Mike McDonnell, Rob Clements, Mike Moser, Myron Dorn, Dave Murman, Robert Dover, Rita Sanders, Steve Erdman, Julie Slama, Curt Friesen, Matt Williams, Suzanne Geist, Tim Gragert, Steve Halloran, Ben Hansen, Mike Hilgers, and Dan Hughes.
“It is deeply saddening that only 30 Nebraska state senators are willing to come back to Lincoln this fall in order to protect innocent life,” Ricketts said in a statement. “The proposal to change Nebraska’s state law that prohibits abortions starting at 20 weeks and reduce that to 12 weeks is a measured, reasonable step to protect more preborn babies in our state.”
According to a 2020 report from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, there were 25 abortions performed at a clinical gestation estimate of 20 weeks or more in the state that year. Most were performed between 5-10 weeks.
Speculation of a special session has been brewing since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. As it did across the country, the ruling prompted much reaction in Nebraska and Iowa on both sides of the issue and from both sides of the aisle.
Read the governor’s full statement
“It is deeply saddening that only 30 Nebraska state senators are willing to come back to Lincoln this fall in order to protect innocent life. The proposal to change Nebraska’s state law that prohibits abortions starting at 20 weeks and reduce that to 12 weeks is a measured, reasonable step to protect more preborn babies in our state.”
Right now, babies in Nebraska can be aborted up to 20 weeks. At this age, babies are nearly fully formed. They can kick, swallow, hear and respond to sounds outside the womb. They suck their thumbs. They can feel pain. And as medical advancements continue, more and more babies born at this stage can survive premature births and go on to live vibrant lives. Under Nebraska’s current law, these babies can still be killed before they have that chance.
Most of the free world has more reasonable abortion laws than Nebraska. Over 75 percent of countries around the world have placed restrictions on abortion at 12 weeks. Our 20 week abortion ban puts us in line with a narrow ten percent of countries — including countries like North Korea and China — that fail to protect preborn babies.
I ask all Nebraskans who are pro-life to look at the list of state senators who signed the letter. If your state senator is on that list, please call or email their office to thank them for their choice to stand with preborn babies. If your state senator is not on the list, please call or email them as well to encourage them to reconsider their decision on this reasonable change to Nebraska’s abortion laws.
This letter shows that elections have consequences. In our state, we must work to protect the most vulnerable, and that includes our preborn babies. There’s no more important issue. We cannot achieve equality for all if we silence human beings before they even have a voice.
The senators’ letter shows we don’t have the 33 votes needed to pass legislation to protect more preborn babies. For this reason, I will not be calling a special session. Nebraskans need to have more conversations on the value we place on human life so more meaningful protections can be passed in our state.
As governor, I will continue doing whatever I can in my power to affirm the rights of preborn babies and to support pregnant women, children, and families in need.”
This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.
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