LINCOLN, Neb.—Nebraska lawmakers today advanced an amendment that bans abortion at about 12 weeks of pregnancy as well as a bill that bans gender affirming health care to transgender youth. The bill now heads to another round of voting before going to the governor’s desk for his signature.
After an absolutely chaotic day of debate, supporters of LB 574 and the amendment that would ban abortion at 12-weeks got the 33 votes for cloture that they needed to advance the bill and amendment. What was supposed to be two hours of debate lasted five and a half hours with a steady sound of chanting filtering into the chamber from opponents of the bill. Process, procedure and the implementation of legislative rules were questioned many times with senators that oppose the bill stating many times that they were changing the rules for their purposes.
Under LB 574, a bill that bans gender affirming care for youth, the Nebraska's Chief Medical Officer, appointed by the governor, would adopt rules to determine access to medical care and other nonsurgical treatments, instead of parents, their child and their medical provider deciding the best course of care. The amendment tacked on to this bill at the last-minute bans abortion at around 12 weeks gestation and does not include exceptions for fetal anomalies. Other exceptions included in the bill, such as for rape, incest or the life of the mother, are vague and put doctors at risk for losing their license or other penalties
The fight to preserve safe and legal abortion in Nebraska is far from over, especially given five attempts to ban abortion have been defeated in the past year.
“We are saddened by but not deterred by today’s vote by lawmakers who want to take away the rights of the people who they represent,” said Andi Curry Grubb, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska. “But this fight is far from over. For now, abortion and gender affirming care remain safe and legal in Nebraska and our residents have the right to control their bodies, families and futures. And we won’t stop until we win this fight for Nebraskans today and for generations to come.”
This legislative session is the first since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, giving state politicians more control over Nebraskans’ bodies than they have. A growing majority of Nebraskans support safe and legal abortion. Fifty-nine percent of Nebraskans do not want any further abortion restrictions, which is a 23 percentage point difference compared to those who want abortion banned.
“We have proven time and time again in the past year that we have the power to defeat these harmful bans. We know this goes against the will of Nebraskans, who want to retain their bodily autonomy. That’s why it’s imperative Nebraskans keep stepping up and have their voices heard. We need to let the people elected to represent us know that this isn’t acceptable, and we aren’t backing down. Not now. Not ever,” Curry Grubb said.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization. As the advocacy and electoral arm of PPNCS, we mobilize supporters of all parties to defend and increase access to family planning services and fact based, medically accurate sexuality education. We work to inspire and engage citizens to take up the cause of reproductive health and rights through education, electoral activity, grassroots organizing and legislative advocacy.