Anti-abortion forces lose key vote in Lincoln
The state’s top abortion foes, led by Gov. Pete Ricketts, have come up short.
A bill that would immediately ban abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade—its 1973 landmark decision to legalize the procedure—stalled in the Legislature late Wednesday as pro-choice forces filibustered their way to victory.
After eight hours of intense debate pro-life forces came up two votes short of the 33 votes needed to end the filibuster and force a vote on the bill.
Throughout the day both sides made their case (view comments above):
State Sen. Terrell McKinney, Omaha (D): “I don’t understand how individuals say, ‘We’re pro-life’ but we still have the death penalty on the books.”
State Sen. John Arch, Papillion (R): “As I read the stages of development, I think it’s pretty hard to ignore that the zygote is the first stage of human development and it proceeds from there. We recognize the other stages outside the womb, we need to recognize these stages inside the womb and protect this human being.”
State Sen. Jen Day, Gretna (D): “When do you feel ok saying the embryo or the zygote has more rights than a 12-year-old girl that was raped by her dad.”
State Sen. Joni Albrecht, Thurston (R): "This is about ensuring our most precious and vulnerable people, the preborn, are protected,” said the bill's lead sponsor.
Nebraska would have become the 14th state to enact a so-called trigger law, which found Ricketts leading the charge.
For the most part lawmakers sounded the party line with Republicans backing the ban and Democrats opposing it.
There were two exceptions, both from Omaha: Democrat Mike McDonnell, who many expect will run for mayor in 2025, voted to stop the filibuster—in effect voting for the ban. Republican John McCollister—who has been a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump—was on the pro-choice side.