If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what will it mean for Nebraska?

The overturning of Roe v. Wade at the federal level would put the future of abortion legality in the hands of state lawmakers.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A Mississippi abortion case that is being heard by the Supreme Court could be the most significant one of its kind in 50 years.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization deals with a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with the only exceptions being in medical emergencies or extreme fetal abnormalities.

If the Mississippi law is upheld, it could mean the end for Roe v. Wade.

“If Roe is overturned in whole or in part, the issue goes back to the states,” Nate Grasz, policy director of the Nebraska Family Alliance, said.

Twelve U.S. states have what are called trigger laws, that will activate once Roe is overturned, effectively banning abortion in those states.

Nebraska does not have a trigger law, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade at the federal level would put the future of abortion legality in the hands of state lawmakers.

“Regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court, or what the decision is, the decision that affects Nebraskans access to care is going to be from those 49 state senators,” ACLU Nebraska’s legal and policy counsel Scout Richters said. “The threat is very real, but there’s hope in the fact that we as Nebraskans can reach out to our state senators.”

Roe v. Wade says a woman has a constitutional right to have an abortion before the fetus is viable outside of the womb, any time before the third trimester.

In Nebraska, abortion is illegal if the fetus is over 20 weeks old.

“Roe and the cases that follow it make clear that that decision about whether and when to terminate a pregnancy really rests on the individual woman and cannot be subject to government interference, pre-viability,” Richters said.

Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing was just an oral arguments hearing, but reaction from the justices have led some to believe that a conservative majority might consider siding with Mississippi in the case, which would have ripple effects for states across the country.

“Depending on the outcome of this case, and how far the court goes with their ruling, that will help dictate and shape what opportunities and what options are available to our state lawmakers here in Nebraska,” Grasz said.

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