Abortion debate in Nebraska is far from over

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Senators approved abortion and gender-affirming health care restrictions on Friday, but some are saying the fight isn’t over.

Most bills don’t take effect until three months after the Legislature is done for the year.

But LB 574 has an emergency clause attached to it, meaning if the governor signs it into law, it will go into effect the next day.

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And Gov. Jim Pillen has voiced support for the bill.

“All children deserve a chance to grow and live happy, fruitful lives,” Pillen said in a statement. “This includes pre-born boys and girls, and it includes children struggling with their gender identity.”

He is expected to sign the bill by next Friday.

But those who oppose it say that’s not the end of the story.

“As devastating as the vote was yesterday, we hope that people take comfort knowing that the ACLU of Nebraska was made for moments like this,” said Mindy Rush Chipman, the interim executive director. “We’re exploring every option available to us, including seeking justice through the courts.”

Some senators have said the bill is unconstitutional because of the abortion amendment added just three days before it was passed.

The state’s constitution says a bill can only cover one topic, and those who oppose it say this measure violates that rule.

“It addresses care for transgender youth and separately addresses abortion care,” Sen. John Cavanaugh said. “Two completely different things. You go to two different doctors for that.”

Rush Chipman said this is something the ACLU is looking into.

But those who are for the bill say the two topics are connected.

And supporters argue that the 12-week ban was a compromise already compared with the six-week ban that would have gone into place with the Nebraska Heartbeat Act.

Nebraska Right to Life released a statement after the vote, indicating that it would support a stricter ban in the future.

“Unfortunately, since approximately 90% of abortions occur before 12 weeks, that’s still so many lives being lost,” said Sandy Danek, the organization’s executive director. “We will continue to work, as we have for more than 50 years, to protect all Nebraska pre-born babies.”

Although the bill is almost certain to become law within a week, it seems that both sides are still looking to work on the issue into the foreseeable future.

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