Nebraska voters could decide if abortion is a constitutional right
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Two constitutional amendments in the Nebraska Legislature would give voters an opportunity to decide if abortion is a constitutional right.
A hearing was held Thursday on LR18CA and LR19CA, both of which would redefine reproductive health care in Nebraska.
“There is nothing worse than a woman trying to seek an illegal abortion because there is no other alternative,” said Darlene Golbitz, a supporter of the amendments. “I do think the people of Nebraska deserve the right to choose and I would urge this to be on the ballot.”
Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha introduced the amendments, which would add reproductive freedom to the list of inherent rights in Nebraska’s Constitution.
It would change the law to say that every individual has a fundamental right to make decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy.
If passed, Nebraskans would be able to vote on the amendments in the 2024 general election.
Hunt said it’s time for people to make the best decision for the state.
“I think in Nebraska, the ultimate authority has to be the people,” she said. “People in Nebraska do not want the government to control their healthcare decisions. They do not want politicians coming between themselves and their doctors.”
Opponents of the amendments say the proposed laws are too lax in their wording.
“These policies should have no place in Nebraska,” said Nate Grasz with Nebraska Family Alliance. “What this means is that fully-formed babies who can yawn, smile and feel pain could be aborted for any reason up until birth, potentially through practices such as sex-elective and dismemberment abortion.”
These laws are in direct opposition to the Heartbeat Act, which would ban abortions once a heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks.
Stephanie Johnson, an opponent of the amendments, said Hunt’s proposed constitutional changes are a step in the wrong direction.
“When did taking another person’s life constitute as health care or a reproductive right?” asked Stephanie Johnson, an opponent of the bill. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the inalienable rights given to every citizen in the state of Nebraska and the United States.”
Hunt admitted that she doesn’t expect the amendments to leave the committee, but she said she wanted to start a conversation around giving the choice back to the voters.