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Nebraska Legislative Session Wrap Up

During legislative session, Planned Parenthood Voters of Nebraska (PPVN) advocates on behalf of Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood patients by taking positions on bills that would impact Nebraskans’ sexual and reproductive health and rights, or that would otherwise affect the lives of Planned Parenthood patients.

In 2019, PPVN monitored nearly 100 bills, provided testimony for 17 pieces of legislation, along with ACLU of Nebraska and Omaha Women’s Fund packed the Capitol with more than 500 supporters, and organized more than 100 supporters to lobby their state senators about proactive bills during Lobby Day.

Catch up on what you missed during the 2019 legislative session, including bills that affect the health and wellbeing of Nebraskans, and Planned Parenthood and/or PPVN events!

Legislation

Fifteen state bans on abortion were passed in the first five months of 2019. While Nebraska was fortunate to avoid such extreme anti-choice legislation this year, several Nebraska lawmakers, including Gov. Ricketts, have indicated Nebraska is next in line for extreme abortion restrictions. Ricketts even tweeted his support for “the brave pro-life champions and their work in Alabama and Georgia” and called Nebraska a “pro-life” state.

 

PPVN supported, opposed, or testified in a neutral capacity for these pieces of legislation during the 2019 Legislation Session. Please take a few minutes to thank the senators who introduced positive legislation for championing health and equality in Nebraska!

LB 62 - Allows trichomoniasis (trich) to be treated with expedited partner therapy (EPT)

Planned Parenthood Clinician Ruth Trecker (lower right) testified in favor of EPT for Trich.

  • Introduced by Sen. Sara Howard
  • LB 62 passed, and this is a cause for celebration! Planned Parenthood worked with Senator Howard on this bill, which addresses an important public health issue. Trich is a difficult-to-detect STD that is often passed back and forth between partners. EPT allows for the partner(s) of a person who has received a diagnosis to be treated without a physician visit; this prevents reinfection between partners or further transmission. 
  • Thank you to everyone who talked to their senator about this bill on Lobby Day, and to everyone who contacted legislators and urged them to support the bill. Together with you, we did it! 
  • Make sure to join us in thanking Senator Howard for being a champion of good health in Nebraska!

LB 173 - Affirmative consent

Planned Parenthood State Executive Director Andi Curry Grubb, above, testified in support of this bill, as did Gen Action groups from around the state.

  • Introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
  • Thank Senator Pansing Brooks for leading the charge on affirmative consent! We need more champions like her fighting to change the narrative and the power dynamics around relationships and bodily autonomy.

LB 498 - Medicaid expansion for family planning

  • Thank Sen. Anna Wishart for keeping sexual and reproductive health care front and center.
  • PP Testimony: Meg Mikolajczyk

LB 503 - Repeal Telehealth abortion ban

  • Introduced by Sen. Megan Hunt
  • Thank Sen. Megan Hunt for fighting to provide access to sexual and reproductive health care to all Nebraskans.
  • Regional Health Center Manager Liz Green and Elena Salisbury, a member of the 2018-2019 Nebraska Speakers Bureau class, testified in support of this bill.
  • PPVN Board Member Dr. Jawed Wessel also testified in support.

LB 555 – Emergency Contraception in hospitals

Planned Parenthood Training and Development Specialist Raechel Kramer, Omaha, testified in support of this bill.

  • Introduced by Sen. Megan Hunt

LB 627 - LGBTQ anti-discrimination

  • Introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
  • PP Testimony: Andi Curry Grubb

LB 167 – Conversion therapy ban

IntroducerSen. Megan Hunt

PP Testimony: Meg Mikolajczyk

LB 311 – Paid family and medical leave

Introducer: Sen. Sue Crawford

PP Testimony: Andi Curry Grubb

LB 402 – SNAP benefits for persons with past drug offenses

Introducer: Sen. Robert Hilkemann

PP Testimony: Andi Curry Grubb

LB 253 – Adopt the Redistricting Act

Introducer: Sen. John McCollister

PP Testimony: Meg Mikolajczyk

LB 13 – Sales tax exemption for breast pumps

Introducer: Sen. Carol Blood

PP Testimony: Andi Curry Grubb

LB 501 - Insurance coverage for IVF

IntroducerSen. Megan Hunt

PP Testimony: Meg Mikolajczyk

LB 170 – Repeal menstrual hygiene product tax

IntroducerSen. Megan Hunt

PP Testimony: Meg Mikolajczyk

LB 702 – Campus Safety Act

Introducer: Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

PP Testimony: Andi Curry Grubb

LB 209 - Medication abortion reversal

LB 209, introduced by Sen. Joni Albrecht and signed into law by Gov. Ricketts on June 6, is the proverbial canary in the coalmine, a warning of further restrictions on reproductive health care. This bill is an attempt by anti-choice lawmakers to chip away at safe, legal abortion access. The bill originally required doctors to misinform patients seeking an abortion by telling them it is possible for medication abortion to be reversed. Medication abortion “reversal” is an untested, unproven procedure based on junk science, and lawmakers have no right to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, especially when mandating information that further stigmatizes and shames abortion patients.

LB 209 passed with an amendment removing the mandate that physicians advise patients on the ability to “reverse” a medication abortion, making the law slightly less harmful. While PPVN appreciates the work of the Judiciary Committee to try to “fix” the bill via amendment, the bill that passed still includes reference to a patient changing their mind once the procedure is underway and still creates additional government interference in a decision that belongs with an individual, their family, and their doctor. The Governor has made clear his ultimate goal is an outright ban on safe, legal abortion. LB 209 may not be an abortion ban, but it’s paving the way for one in Nebraska.  

  • If your senator voted “Yes” to this bill, send them an email to express your disappointment in their support of this unethical and unscientific bill. Let them know how important sexual and reproductive health care is, and that going forward, you hope they will support proactive legislation and stand up against attacks on sexual and reproductive health care.
  • If your senator voted “No” to this bill, be sure to thank them for standing for science, medicine, and reproductive health care access for all people.

LB 629 – Title X regulations on providers

  • Introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
  • Deputy Director Meg Mikolajczyk testified in a neutral capacity

Lobby Day 2019

More than 100 supporters attended Planned Parenthood’s 2019 Lobby Day. Attendees were updated on legislation and given a short lobbying training before heading to the capitol to speak with senators. PPVN advocated for three proactive bills this year: LB 62 – EPT for Trich, LB 173 – Affirmative Consent, and LB 498 – Medicaid Expansion for Family Planning

 

Senators Megan Hunt and Machaela Cavanaugh joined us for a special lunch panel to discuss their legislation and to share personal experiences that fuel their commitment to keep fighting for our shared values. We are so grateful to them both for taking the time to join us, and for continuously championing sexual and reproductive health.

#StopTheBans Rally 

450 #StopTheBans rallies were held across the country in response to the dangerous abortion bans passed in 15 states within the first five months of 2019. Left, Planned Parenthood and PPVN co-hosted Nebraskans Stand for Reproductive Freedom with ACLU of Nebraska and Women’s Fund of Omaha at the Nebraska State Capitol with more than 350 supporters filling the Capitol Rotunda in support of reproductive rights.

  • State Executive Director Andi Curry Grubb spoke at the rally, denouncing the restrictive laws as attacks on health care: “Let’s be clear: Reproductive and sexual health care is health care. People’s ability to access safe, legal abortion is health care. And health care is a basic human right that we will always fight for.”
  • Read more about the #StopTheBans rallies in Nebraska and across the country:

 

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