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 lawmakers who want to preserve safe and legal abortion in Nebraska today defeated a near total abortion ban, in a major win for abortion access in Nebraska and the country. This is the fifth attempt to outlaw abortion in the past year to fail.
After four hours of debate, senators failed to collect the 33 needed votes to end debate on the measure. A majority of debate centered on an amendment introduced by Sen. Merv Riepe to change the ban from six weeks to 12 weeks. Sen. Riepe was the deciding vote after his attempt to call a vote on his amendment was blocked.
“Today’s vote is a huge victory for abortion access in Nebraska, the Midwest, and for the country,” said Andi Curry Grubb, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska. “It means abortion will remain safe and legal in our state, providing people with the bodily autonomy they deserve. We have made it clear—no bans. Not now, not ever. And not in our state.”
The near total abortion ban would have outlawed abortions at about six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. It would have also caused doctors who perform abortions at about six weeks of abortion or without an ultrasound to lose their license. It would have been 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.
This legislative session is the first since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 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.
“Nebraska politicians today voted to keep private health care decisions where they belong—in the exam room between a doctor and their patient. We saw a record number of people turn up to today’s debate in solidarity against this political overreach and in support of protecting our control over our bodies and futures. We will continue to provide abortion care and fight to preserve what should be fundamental rights,” 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.