An abortion ban passed by the Nebraska State Legislature is soon to hit the desk of Governor Pete Ricketts, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
On Thursday, Legislative Bill 814 passed 33-8 after coming to the floor with no committee work or amendments. LB814 bans the abortion method commonly known as D&E – dilation and evacuation. It is one of the methods available for second-trimester abortions and is the most common second-trimester method.
Opponents filibustered during each level of debate, concerned that the bill received special treatment. Although stuck in committee after a February hearing, Senator Suzanne Geist, who introduced the bill, successfully moved to bring it to the floor. One opponent, Senator Megan Hunt, said Lt. Gov. Mike Foley was able to run a legislative strategy on the bill, and that the bill was given priority during scheduling.
Gov. Ricketts praised the bill’s passage and has previously spoken out against D&E abortions. Earlier this year he released a column discussing the need to put a stop to the medical procedure. When the bill hits his desk, he is expected to sign it into law. However, the bill’s opponents are prepared to take action before it goes into effect in November.
In an online statement, the ACLU of Nebraska said, “Whether through the courts or the Capitol, we are committed to doing everything we can to protect access to abortion care in Nebraska…Bottom line, we don’t back down from fights and this fight isn’t over.”
Planned Parenthood North Central States has also spoken out against the bill. “Today lawmakers continued their attack on reproductive health care in Nebraska, creating arbitrary barriers to safe, legal abortion. This egregious law is not about improving the health care of Nebraskans and, instead, is about shaming them and placing additional burdens on women,” said the organization’s Nebraska executive director Andi Curry Grubb.
Currently, D&E abortions have been banned in only two states. The ban has previously been introduced in many other state legislatures, where it has often failed to pass. Courts have also successfully struck down multiple attempts to enact the ban in different states.
Sources: Fremont Tribune 8/14/20; Nebraska.gov 3/2/20; Omaha World Herald 8/13/20