What’s next for Nebraska after no special session for abortion ban?

The dynamics of the legislature could change in January.
6 News takes a deeper look at how the elections will shape the next legislature.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 8:17 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In April, the Nebraska legislature came two votes short of outlawing abortion in the state if the U.S. Supreme overturned Roe v. Wade.

So when the Supreme Court did just that this summer, Gov. Ricketts told everyone to stay tuned, that he intended to bring lawmakers back this year to ban abortions.

But he doesn’t have the votes.

In fact, two of the original supporters in April of the trigger law, Omaha Sen. Robert Hilkemann and panhandle Sen. John Stinner, declined to sign off on a plan to restrict abortions at and after the 12th week of pregnancy. Current state law is 20 weeks.

Speaker Hilgers wrote a letter to the governor. He had 30 votes instead of the 33 needed to overcome a filibuster so no need to call back lawmakers.

The dynamics of the legislature could change in January.

Consider this, 24 of 49 legislative seats are up for grabs.

“After the November elections, we should see a stronger pro-life body. And right now, Nebraska Right-To-Life has seen a record number of pro-life candidates enter this race and we will be working very hard in getting our voter guides as to who the pro-life candidates are,” said Sandy Danek with Nebraska Right-To-Life.

Abortion rights advocates believe the majority of Nebraskans are with them and point to Kansas voters in a historically conservative state recently rejecting stricter abortion measures as a guide. But they understand after stopping three attempts to restrict abortion this year in the legislature, there will always be a next time.

“That fact that we are not going into a special session, enacting further restrictions, shows the calls and emails from ordinary Nebraskans, those are working and they’ll continue to work,” said Erin Feichtinger with Women’s Fund of Omaha.

Of the 24 races on the ballot in November, two of them are incumbents who voted for more restrictions. They are running unopposed.

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