Petition to ban abortion in Bellevue moves forward

The signature deadline has come and gone for a petition to ban abortion in the City of Bellevue.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:43 PM CST

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In Bellevue this week, volunteers just submitted thousands of signatures to ban abortion in their city. It’s a petition that circulated for six months.

The deadline just hit this week.

“We are ready to see Mr. Carhart’s facility shut down once and for all,” said Judith Mansisidor, one of the petition’s sponsors.

Mark Lee Dickson, the Texas man spearheading the initiative, said they submitted 521 petition packets and well over 7,000 signatures.

They hope that’s enough to move the effort forward. They need 20% of qualified Bellevue voter signatures, or about 7,400 people.

The city is working with the Sarpy County election commissioner to certify those signatures. Organizers won’t say exactly how many they collected.

6 News spoke with interim city attorney Annie Mathews on the next steps.

“There’s no specific timeline set out by when the votes need to be verified. The city doesn’t intend to drag its feet,” Mathews said.

If it hits 20%, then she said, “it’s our duty to present it to [the] city council.”

If the city council doesn’t pass it, that’s not the end of the road.

“The matter is submitted for a special election, so it’s put towards the voters to decide,” Mathews said.

As for now, the volunteers wait.

“This is a process that will have to play itself out,” said Mansisidor. “If we do not see success through this process, we will pursue other routes to see Bellevue outlaw abortion.”

6 News asked the city attorney what other measures might be.

“The statute states that they can only do this every two years on a certain subject, and so I think down the line they’d have the opportunity to resubmit,” said Mathews.

“We have every intention to exhaust every legal avenue we have to make sure that every soul in Bellevue gets to experience the good life,” Mansisidor said. “That is the Nebraska way.”

6 News reached out to the clinic for comment on the effort and where things stand now -- we have not heard back.

The movement has already succeeded in eight other Nebraska towns. None of those were larger in population than 1,000 people. For comparison, Bellevue has about 63,000 people.