What is a special session and how does it relate to abortion access?
By Jensen Alexander Humphrey | June 28, 2022, 9:44 p.m.
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that eliminates the federal right to abortion established in 1973 in the landmark case Roe v. Wade. With its decision, the fight for abortion access and reproductive freedom was sent back to each state to decide.
Nebraska politicians who are determined to ban abortion have been waiting for this very moment. We’re ready.
This Spring we defeated Legislative Bill 933, a proposed trigger law that would have banned abortion in the absence of federal protections. Nebraskans showed up, raised their voices, and defeated the ban with the support of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska and our coalition partners.
After the bill failed, Senator Hilgers of the Nebraska Legislature vowed to work with Governor Ricketts to call a special legislative session to try to pass a ban again if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Now that the Court has done just that, we expect a special session to be called later this summer.
What is a special session?
A special session can only be called in between regular legislative sessions, which typically run from January to April or June of each year. It can be called by either the governor or by a ⅔ majority of the Unicameral, 33 of the 49 members. Only bills or issues that are specifically mentioned in the call for a special session can be considered during it.
What can we expect if a special session is called to ban abortion?
Governor Ricketts has vowed to use a special session to ban all abortions in Nebraska—even in cases of rape and incest. This would have a devastating impact on all Nebraskans.
We need to secure enough votes to block any ban that is proposed during the special session. To block any proposed ban, we need to prevent anti-abortion legislators from getting enough votes (33) to overcome a filibuster. It will take all of us raising our voices and reminding the legislature that the majority of Nebraskans support safe, legal abortion.
Call your senator now and tell them to oppose any abortion bans or restrictions.
Luckily, some members of the Nebraska Legislature already stand firmly on the side of sexual and reproductive rights—Senator Megan Hunt, in response to the possibility of a special session, vowed to make the session “the most painful and excruciating political experience my colleagues have ever had.” She understands what is at stake: “Banning abortion care won’t end abortion,” she says, “it will just make it unsafe for people who need this care.”
We know that she is right, and we know that Nebraskans need access to this crucial care. Pledge to fight for abortion access this summer, no matter what.
Tags: Abortion, Roe v. Wade, nebraska, special session, dobbs v. jackson women's health organization