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Nebraska’s 2021 legislative session has officially ended. (Stay tuned for special session this fall, where senators will tackle redistricting.)

Here’s the great news: While other states are battling extreme bills that target abortion access and transgender students, no anti-abortion or anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced this session in Nebraska. This is a testament to the progress we are steadily building in our state with the help of supporters like you. But our work is far from over.

Here are the key issues that Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska (PPAN) tracked and supported during the 2021 legislative session.

Repealing the Telehealth Abortion Ban

LB 276, introduced by Senator Megan Hunt, would repeal the ban on medication abortion administered through telehealth. Medication abortion, despite being safe, legal, and effective, is the only service banned from use through telehealth in Nebraska.

Not only were there no anti-abortion bills introduced this session, but we had the privilege of advocating for this proactive abortion legislation. Read our testimony here. This would not have been possible without dedicated reproductive freedom champions at the Capitol like Senator Megan Hunt.

Providing Emergency Contraception in the ER

Senator Hunt also introduced LB 183 this session, a bill to ensure that all survivors of sexual assault have access to the health care they need, including emergency contraception. Emergency contraception (EC) is a safe and effective contraceptive method that prevents pregnancy. It does not terminate an existing pregnancy.

Timely access to EC is critical to survivors as it most effective within the first 12–24 hours following a sexual assault. Survivors should be able to get the care they need without making additional trips to providers or pharmacies and retelling their trauma multiple times. They should have access to all health care options, no matter where they live or what hospital they go to. Read Planned Parenthood's testimony in support of LB 183.

Increasing Birth Control Supply Covered by Insurance

LB 20, introduced by Senator Carol Blood, aimed to increase insurance coverage of birth control to a 12-month supply, although the bill was amended to a 6-month supply by the committee. 

Private health insurance plans often limit the supply of birth control that can be obtained at one time. Expanding coverage to 6-month supplies would reduce barriers to contraception and increase continued use of birth control. Read our testimony to learn more about the importance of extended coverage.

We’re grateful to Senator Blood for introducing and Senator Eliot Bostar for helping push the bill out of the Banking and Insurance Committee. The bill will be available to debate early next legislative session! We will be fighting for it every step of the way.

Establishing Affirmative Consent

Senator Patty Pansing Brooks brought back LB 360 this session, a bill to update the legal definition of consent to an affirmative standard—from "no means no" to "yes means yes," because a lack of consent is not consent. If we reframe the way our legal system defines consent, we can empower survivors of sexual assault who seek justice and encourage dialogue about boundaries, respect, and healthy relationships.

“Sex should always be mutually consensual. If in doubt, ask. Consent should never be presumed. I will continue my work to ensure passage of this legislation.”  – Senator Patty Pansing Brooks

We’re grateful for Senator Pansing Brooks’ steadfast advocacy for sexual assault survivors, and we will continue fighting for this crucial legislation.

Ending Natural Hair Discrimination

LB 451, introduced by Senator Terrell McKinney, bans workplace discrimination against natural hair textures and protective hairstyles. The bill also clarifies that “race often includes characteristics associated with race, culture, and personhood, including, but not limited to, skin color, hair texture, and protective hairstyles.”

I Be Black Girl led the fight in support of LB 451, and we have them to thank as well as Senator McKinney for the passage of this bill. Senator McKinney worked on a slate of ambitious bills this session that tackled racial justice, employment discrimination, economic inequality, housing inequality, and more. 

Follow I Be Black Girl on Facebook

As we continue to build progress in Nebraska, we are seeing more and more elected officials openly championing sexual and reproductive rights. The tide is changing in our state. We will not stop fighting, and I’m grateful to have fierce advocates like you by our side.

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Tags: Legislative

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