Nebraska abortion rights advocates release petition language to get issue on November 2024 ballot
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Despite the state legislature banning abortion after 12 weeks earlier this year, the fight for abortion rights is not over in Nebraska.
On Wednesday, the group released the approved petition language.
The object of this petition is to amend the Nebraska Constitution to provide all persons the fundamental right to abortion without interference from the state or its political subdivisions until fetal viability, which is the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of the patient’s health care practitioner, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures; or when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient.
Article I of the Nebraska Constitution shall be amended by adding a new section 31 as shown:
All persons shall have a fundamental right to abortion until fetal viability, or when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient, without interference from the state or its political subdivisions. Fetal viability means the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of the patient’s treating health care practitioner, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.
A constitutional amendment, which is what this petition is, requires 10 percent of registered voters to sign the petition.
Signatures must also be gathered from 5 percent of voters in 38 of 93 of Nebraska’s counties.
“Our constitutional amendment is informed both by medical experts and where most Nebraskans are on this issue,” said Ashlei Spivey, a member of Protect Our Rights’ executive committee. “Unlike the state officials working to totally ban abortion, we’re elevating the voices and lived experiences of Nebraskans who believe that pregnant people should be able to access needed care with compassion and privacy, free from political interference. This amendment will ensure that these personal decisions stay with Nebraskans — not politicians.”
State Senator Joni Albrecht who advocated for an abortion ban at 6 weeks gestation and later compromised with a 12 week ban during the last legislative session released this response: “This extreme proposal would allow late-term abortion throughout pregnancy, eliminate health and safety standards, and allow minors to obtain abortions without parental notification. Abortion is legal in the first trimester in Nebraska with clear exceptions for the life of the mother and medical emergencies throughout pregnancy. An amendment that jeopardizes the health and safety of women and abandons babies who deserve love and protection to painful late-term abortion procedures must be rejected.”
Gov. Jim Pillen was also critical of the ballot initiative. “This flawed initiative would radically expand abortion in Nebraska, resulting in the deaths of thousands of babies in mothers’ wombs. Its vague and deceptive language could throw open the doors to brutal late-term abortions, putting abortion providers in charge of judging whether, for example, a 39-week-old pre-born baby can be aborted, Pillen said. “That is totally out of step with the pro-life principles of the overwhelming majority of Nebraskans, whose representatives last session passed a strong and reasonable 12-week abortion ban with common sense exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. I was proud to sign that bill into law and I will continue to fight to save as many babies’ lives as possible from abortion, including by working to defeat this initiative. We will continue to support moms and help them choose life and love. I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with pro-life leaders across Nebraska to defend life in our state.”
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