In Nebraska, both sides brace for abortion battle after Supreme Court leak

Supreme court decision will cause big changes one way or another

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed Tuesday that a leaked rough draft of an opinion on abortion was authentic but said it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any justice.

If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, it will then be up to each state what to do next.

Nebraska would either join 23 other states in banning abortion or become a place where women from all over the region come to have an abortion.

Nebraska State Sen. Joni Albrecht said she hopes that Gov. Pete Ricketts calls a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill banning abortion.

“That’s for him to decide, not me,” Albrecht said. “I know how important the pro-life issues are for the state of Nebraska, so I’m hopeful that he will call a special session and allow us to do our work.”

Ricketts released a statement on Tuesday saying:

“This draft opinion is a promising sign that the gross wrong of Roe will be righted and abortion decisions will return to the states. I’m praying for our Supreme Court Justices as we await their final decision.”

Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers said he tried to avoid a special session by prioritizing a trigger bill, which would have banned most abortions, this past session, but he released a statement supporting the idea:

“As a former law clerk for a federal appellate judge, the release of a draft opinion is both unfathomable and unconscionable. I prioritized the trigger bill for the possibility that the Court would overturn the Roe and Casey decisions and avoid a special session. If the Court overturns Roe and Casey, and Nebraska reclaims its constitutional ability to prohibit abortion, I will work with the Governor to schedule a special session to protect the unborn.”

If a special session is not called, the senators elected this year may decide the issue.

“If we don’t have a special session, we have a lot of new people coming in in January, and that’s where we present it the very first thing next year, and we just get it taken care of,” Albrecht said.

Because many surrounding states have already passed anti-abortion laws, if Nebraska doesn’t pass a ban, Planned Parenthood is planning to expand services here.

“We have been preparing presumptively for this decision for a long time,” said Dr. Sarah Traxler, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “We know that there are certain places in the country where we need to shore up access and make sure that we have space available for patients coming from all over.”

Traxler said that even if abortion is illegal in some nearby states, “it doesn’t mean that abortions stop happening.”

If Nebraska doesn’t ban abortion, Planned Parenthood said it could help women in those states could come here.

The regional Planned Parenthood raises money every year to help patients access abortion but is prepared to raise more than ever before.

“Certainly, our expenses will go up, and we will need to assist people in ways that we currently rarely have to do. For example, with travel or with child care,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States.

Planned Parenthood representatives noted Tuesday today that their doors are still open and that abortions is currently still legal in Nebraska.

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