Encouraged by success in other red states, the Nebraska coalition is launching efforts to protect abortion rights

(Kenneth Ferriera/Associated Press)

Encouraged by success in other red states, the Nebraska coalition is launching efforts to protect abortion rights



November 15, 2023

An effort is underway to expand abortion rights in the Nebraska Constitution.

as a sequel to

following successful efforts in other red states where Republicans had introduced or sought abortion restrictions.

Protect Our Rights, the coalition behind the effort, has submitted a proposed petition to Nebraska


secretary of


Tate’s office late last month.

That language was kept secret until Wednesday, when the state’s top elections office released it. Organizers plan to hold a news conference Thursday to kick off the effort, which will require them to collect about 125,000 valid signatures by next summer to get the measure on the ballot in 2024.

We are confident and energized by this effort, said Ashley Spivey, founder and executive director of I Be Black Girl, an Omaha-based reproductive rights group that is part of the coalition. Other members include Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Women’s Fund.

The proposed amendment would declare a fundamental right to abortion until the fetus is viable, or when necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient. Among the petition language: patient health

The health care provider would determine the viability of the fetus.

Ohio voters enshrine abortion access in state constitution in latest statewide reproductive rights victory

The group relied in part on polling showing that a majority of Nebraskans support access to abortion, Spivey said. That’s been consistent in other states where voters have supported abortion rights, including Ohio, where voters last week resoundingly approved an amendment to the state constitution to protect access to abortion.

“Ohio was definitely a proving point for us,” Spivey said. Ohio shows that voters will protect their rights.

Now advocates in at least a dozen states want to put abortion questions before voters in 2024.

Since the US Supreme Court Roe v


. Wade, the 1973 decision that had protected abortion rights nationally, voters in all seven states with statewide voting rights have supported access. That includes neighboring conservative Kansas, where voters last year decisively rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure entirely.

Paige Brown, a spokesperson for the Nebraska Catholic Conference which has lobbied hard for abortion restrictions, cabled that abortion opponents are aware of the public opposition.

The major pro-life groups in Nebraska are not pursuing our own ballot initiative,” Brown said in a written statement. Instead, they will focus on defending Nebraska’s current 12-week abortion ban passed by the Republican Legislature earlier this year. exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of

mother patient


“Still moving.” The uncertain future of abortion a year after Roe was overturned

The vast majority of Nebraskans agree that this is a reasonable public policy, Brown said.

A petition for a 2024 referendum to completely ban abortion in Nebraska, which was approved earlier this year, has been put on hold after its sole organizer failed to gather enough volunteers to distribute the petition.

Despite indications that further restrictions are unpopular, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen and other Republican leaders have vowed to do so, even as others have warned it could cost them elections. Republican Senator Merve Riepe, who was filling up a tank

6 six


prohibition bill by refusing to end a filibuster over it, entered the Legislature in April to urge his conservative colleagues to pay attention to signs that abortion will prompt women to vote them out of office.

We must embrace the future of reproductive rights, he said at the time.

Ashley All, who helped lead efforts in Kansas to protect abortion rights, echoed that warning, noting that Kansas voters rejected that state’s anti-abortion legislation.

abortion efforts by almost 20 percentage points.

For fifty years, all we’ve heard is a very specific stereotype about who gets an abortion and why. But if you start to break that stereotype and show how abortion is health

care, people’s perceptions and opinions are starting to change.


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