Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a pro-life bill that would ban abortions and make killing an unborn baby a felony.
Sen. Joni Albrecht, R-Thurston, sponsored the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act (LB 933), which would ensure that every human life is protected in Nebraska. last month her bill received a committee hearing but it has been stuck in the committee ever since.
On Friday, since the bill was stuck in committee, legislators used a special procedural motion to vote the bill out of committee and onto the floor of the state’s unicameral legislature so it can receive a full legislative vote. Senators voted 28-13 to bring the bill to the floor.
Albrecht filed a motion to place the bill on general file, even though the Judiciary Committee has not voted to advance it.
Albrecht said the state is facing a “historic moment” that requires action from lawmakers. More than 200,000 abortions — a number equal to approximately 10% of the state’s population — have occurred in Nebraska since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, she said.
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“Pull motions should indeed be rare, but they are allowed under our rules for a purpose,” Albrecht said. “(LB 933) addresses a statewide issue with broad public support and the committee has declined to either advance or kill the bill. It has been 43 days since the bill hearing for LB 933 in the committee.”
Norfolk Sen. Michael Flood spoke in support of the motion to pull the bill from committee. Nebraska is a pro-life state, he said, and the Legislature has a significant historical investment in protecting the lives of the unborn.
“While I’m not someone who is normally fond of pull motions — this is an issue that has been tearing at the hearts of Americans since Roe v. Wade was decided,” Flood said. “This rises to the level of an issue that we must address.”
Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil also spoke in favor of the motion, saying it is important for bills to be debated by the full Legislature and for Nebraskans to provide input to their senators on how to vote.
“The committee process works in most cases. But sometimes, the committees are set up so they don’t reflect very closely at all what the makeup of the Legislature is,” Murman said. “In that case, I think the pull motion is very valuable because the people of Nebraska need to know where their senators stand on the most important issues.”
The bill is a trigger bill that would immediately ban aboritons once the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Albrecht said the bill is sorely needed and Governor Pete Ricketts supports the legislation.
“Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, there have been almost 200,000 abortions in Nebraska,” Albrecht said.
Albrecht said 12 other states already have similar laws in place to ban abortions as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court allows states to do so. Her bill would prohibit all abortions except when the mother’s life is at risk. Abortionists who violate the ban would be charged with a felony.
“… every person from the moment of conception” deserves legal protection, Albrecht said. “Both the woman and the child are worthy of being loved, and they deserve better than abortion.”
The legislation would save thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year. According to state health data, there were 2,378 abortions in 2020 in Nebraska.
Ryan Bomberger, a pro-life leader and founder of the Radiance Foundation, testified in favor of the legislation. Bomberger told lawmakers that his birth mother was raped but she chose life for him anyway.
“They say that I should have been aborted. I was conceived in rape but adopted in love,” he said.
Another pro-life advocate, Emily Pollen, who also is a foster parent, also urged lawmakers to protect unborn babies from abortion, pointing to the many resources available to pregnant mothers, KETV 7 reports.
“It’s ludicrous to kill humans in the name of poverty or lack of resources,” Pollen said.
A number of abortion activists testified against the bill, saying lawmakers should stay out of women’s reproductive decisions. Among the groups opposing the pro-life legislation were the Nebraska Alliance of Child Advocacy Centers and the Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, according to the World-Herald.
A recent Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans take a pro-life position on abortion, waiting all (19 percent) or almost all (33 percent) of abortions made illegal. In contrast, 45 percent of Americans say all (32 percent) or almost all (13 percent) abortions should be legal.
Currently, however, states are forced to legalize abortions for any reason up to viability under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Because of these cases, the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.
Since 1973, more than 63 million unborn babies and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mothers have died in supposedly “safe,” legal abortions.
ACTION ALERT: Contact Nebraska state lawmakers to urge support for this pro-life bill.