Note: Please see a recent update in AP style, which avoids the use of “fetal heartbeat” bill since this legislation addresses neither a fetus (it’s still an embryo) nor a heartbeat (it hasn’t yet developed a heart).
OMAHA, NEBRASKA—Nebraska politicians who want to outlaw abortion today advanced a near total abortion ban out of committee, setting it up for its first of potentially three rounds of debate.
The near total abortion ban would outlaw abortions at about six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. It would also cause doctors who perform abortions after six weeks or without an ultrasound to lose their license. The measure would be enforced by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which would create a panel of medical peers to review any allegations leveraged against health care providers.
Lawmakers pushing the near total abortion ban still lack the votes to pass it, setting up an extremely close and potentially lengthy fight to keep abortion safe and legal in Nebraska.
“Today’s vote doesn’t come as a surprise—it’s something we expected,” said Andi Curry Grubb, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska. “We have a long fight still ahead of us, and we stand with Nebraskans—a growing majority of whom support keeping abortion safe and legal—to block this dangerous near total abortion ban. Health care decisions belong between a patient and their doctor, not politicians who lack medical expertise. But, the reality is, Nebraska lawmakers now have more control over our bodies and futures than we do. And it’s imperative we let them know this proposed ban is unacceptable.”
Media coverage this week reported the legislature is two votes shy of what it needs to pass the near total abortion ban. It would then go to the full floor for debate, where 33 votes are needed to pass it onto the next of possibly two more rounds of debate before a final vote is taken.
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 restrictions on abortion in Nebraska and oppose abortion bans, which is a 23 percentage point difference compared to those who want abortion banned.
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.