Nebraska Republicans lack votes to pass 12-week abortion ban
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[August 09, 2022]
By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
will not convene the state legislature for a special session to consider
stricter abortion laws because Republican lawmakers did not have the
votes to pass a ban on abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, he said on
The statement by Ricketts, a Republican, comes as several other
Republican-led states have grappled in recent weeks with how far to go
in restricting abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court in June
overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion
Indiana on Friday became the first state to pass a new abortion ban
since Roe's overturn, but Republican lawmakers there were divided over
which exceptions to allow.
Nebraska currently allows abortions up to 20 weeks post-fertilization.
Ricketts had expressed interest in calling a special session to further
restrict abortion access, saying he would support a near-total ban with
no exceptions for rape or incest.
But in his statement on Monday, the governor said only 30 state senators
would support a ban on abortions past 12 weeks. The legislation requires
33 votes to pass.
Nebraska's state legislature is unicameral, meaning it only has one
chamber, and is comprised of 32 Republicans and 17 Democrats.
"It is deeply saddening that only 30 Nebraska state senators are willing
to come back to Lincoln this fall in order to protect innocent life,"
Ricketts said. “As Governor, I will continue doing whatever I can in my
power to affirm the rights of preborn babies and to support pregnant
women, children, and families in need.”
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Republican Governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts speaks at the
Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill,
Maryland, U.S. February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
Nebraska state Senator Megan Hunt, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter last
week that the 12-week ban proposal was part of an effort by the
state's Republican leadership to seem "moderate" in comparison to
the total bans that have taken effect in some 10 other states.
"Abortion is a right. Abortion is health care. And the decision
about whether and when to become a parent does not belong to the
government," Hunt tweeted on Monday.
The near-total ban signed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Friday
prohibits all abortions except when the life of the mother is
endangered, the fetus develops a fatal abnormality or the pregnancy
results from rape or incest but has not advanced beyond 10 weeks of
West Virginia's legislature, also led by Republicans, is on the
verge of passing a near-total abortion ban during a special session
this summer. But lawmakers disagree over whether doctors who perform
abortions outside narrow exceptions should face prison time.
The defeat last week of a Republican-backed Kansas constitutional
amendment to restrict abortion has boosted Democrats' hopes that
they can harness voter anger to prevail in competitive November
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Josie
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