Campaign to get abortion rights on 2024 Nebraska ballot officially launches

The petition drive to get abortion protection on the 2024 Nebraska election ballot officially launched in Omaha on Thursday.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:26 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - “I have no doubt that we will succeed,” said Andi Curry Grubb with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska.

Protect Our Rights is an effort to put abortion rights to a vote in Nebraska.

Thursday afternoon a group of about fifty people gathered to launch what they say will be an effort comprised of hundreds of volunteers to collect signatures needed to put abortion rights on the ballot.

“This campaign is about giving Nebraskans back the power to make those decisions,” said Ashlei Spivey with Protect Our Rights.

The current law, signed this May by Gov. Jim Pillen bans abortion past 12 weeks.

However, seven states across the nation have put abortion rights to a public vote and succeeded, the latest being Ohio.

“We’ve seen time and time again, especially with Ohio just last week that when you put abortion on the ballot, voters will protect their rights, and Nebraska’s no different,” said Spivey.

The petition states that “all persons shall have a fundamental right to abortion until fetal viability.”

Fetal viability is in the petition defined as when there’s a significant likelihood that a fetus can survive outside the uterus without extraordinary measures. The amendment would leave that to be determined by a medical professional.

Dr. Mary Kinyoun is an OBGYN.

“The purpose of having this language built allows us to tailor this to meet the patient’s need where it is,” said Kinyoun.

According to medical journals such as The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, fetal viability is generally between 23 and 24 weeks, though there isn’t a true consensus.

Anti-abortion leaders say they’re concerned that the language is too vague.

“You’re defining it so broadly you’re encompassing that second and third trimester, which I know Nebraskans’ values don’t embrace,” said Sandy Danek with Nebraska Right to Life.

At the official launch, it was announced volunteers would begin circulating the petitions as early as next week.

The campaign needs about 125,000 signatures from registered voters. That’s calculated by 10% of the voting block in the state. The signatures also need to cover at least 5% across 38 of the 93 counties. The signatures need to be submitted by July of next year.