Advocates on both sides of abortion issue eye new Nebraska legislature

While the Unicameral is technically nonpartisan, it remains to be seen whether the lines drawn last session will hold.
Observers are expecting abortion to be a focus of the upcoming Unicameral session as more conservatives were voted in across Nebraska.
Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 9:34 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska lawmakers are back in session in just over a month with a new governor and a number of new senators. While it’s unclear what will be priorities for the new Unicameral, legislative observers are expecting the conservative majority to, once again, attempt to put limitations on abortion.

Protests have been taking place across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.

Now that states had permission to create their own law regarding abortion, Nebraska lawmakers attempted to limit current state law which allows abortion up to 20 weeks.

Planned Parenthood expects to play defense, once again.

“We are absolutely preparing for all options to be on the table during the legislative session,” said Andi Curry Grubb, Nebraska state executive director of Planned Parenthood.

Curry Grubb shared her thoughts during a panel discussion series Thursday with the Lincoln-Lancaster League of Women Voters.

With a new administration and new state senators coming in, advocates on both sides of the abortion issue are expecting to see debate in the legislature.

Last year, the Democratic minority had just enough votes to filibuster stricter abortion changes. After the election, Republicans don’t have a supermajority this time, either, by one senator.

But with all the new faces, it’s hard to know where some lawmakers stand on both sides.

“We want to support legislation that will save as many lives as possible in the shortest time frame,” said Sandy Danek with Nebraska Right to Life.

She describes the upcoming legislature as a strong, conservative, pro-life body.

“Having said that, there’s always a challenge that comes with what everyone is happy with. Determining what legislation is acceptable to everyone takes some time to do that, and the discussions are ongoing, currently,” she said.

Democrats vow to do what it takes to preserve women’s reproductive rights. They believe the majority of Nebraskans want that.

“It’s hard to know what to do until we know what we are facing,” State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha. “Prepared to take on the challenge in the upcoming session — it’s hard to know if there will be legislation.”

The first day of the legislative session is Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Last April, efforts to enact a “trigger law” failed by two votes in the Nebraska Legislature.

Gov. Pete Ricketts also planned to call a special session in August to enact a 12-week abortion restriction, but did not have the votes.