A petition referendum effort is being launched by pro-abortion activists trying to enshrine controversial late-term abortions in Nebraska’s Constitution. It follows on the heels of similar successful efforts in other red states.
Protect Our Rights, the pro-abortion coalition behind the effort submitted proposed petition language to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office late last month. That language was kept under wraps until Wednesday when the state’s top elections office released it.
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood announced the constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state law that protects babies in the womb after 12 weeks. Other pro-abortion groups pushing the measure include, I Be Black Girl and the Women’s Fund.
The petition drive seeks to change the state Constitution to “provide all persons the fundamental right to an abortion” up to viability when the baby can survive outside the womb, or when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient. Under the petition language, the patient’s healthcare practitioner would determine fetal viability.
Organizers will need to collect around 125,000 valid signatures by next summer to get the measure on the ballot in 2024.
The Nebraska Pro-Life Coalition said the proposed measure is part of a nationally coordinated effort by the abortion industry and their allies to remove all rights from the unborn, health protections for women, and parental rights.
The pro-life coalition said they plan on defending Nebraska’s current 12-week abortion ban passed by the Republican-led Legislature earlier this year that already includes exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.
“Nebraska’s law currently allows abortion throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but that isn’t enough for the abortion industry and activists who are trying to write second- and third-trimester abortions into our constitution. This amendment would allow for abortion until the moment of birth,” Nebraska Right to Life Executive Director Sandy Danek. “This ballot measure is not pro-choice, it’s pro-abortion, and it does not reflect the values of Nebraskans.”
The coalition pointed out three implications of the proposed abortion amendment.
- Abortion throughout pregnancy – the amendment leaves post-viability abortion for “health” to the discretion of the abortionist. Without defining “health,” courts have found that it can be based on non-medical factors, including mental, spiritual, financial or familial health. Furthermore, viability is defined as being based solely on the abortionist’s judgment and would not include any baby who needs “extraordinary medical measures,” which could be as simple as a short stay in the NICU.
- The elimination of health and safety protections for women – language on the fundamental right to abortion “without interference from the state” puts all of Nebraska’s medical safeguards at risk. This includes obtaining informed consent and performing a medical screening, seeing a physician in person or even seeing a medical professional at all. It would allow abortion pills to be sold through the mail by people with no medical background.
- The evisceration of parental rights – by using the words “all persons” rather than “women” in the amendment, this will mean parents will not have any ability to consent or even know if their minor daughter seeks an abortion. They may also have no recourse if their daughter is harmed during the abortion.
“We’re confident in this effort, and we’re energized,” said Ashlei Spivey, founder and executive director of I Be Black Girl, an Omaha-based pro-abortion group.
“Ohio was definitely a proof point for us,” Spivey said. “Ohio shows that voters are going to protect their rights.”
Adam Schwend, western regional director for SBA Pro-Life America disagrees with that assumption.
“Right out of the gate, those behind this ballot measure are parroting the lies told by pro-abortion activists in Ohio by saying women are dying without this amendment. Their claim that Nebraska does not have an adequate life of the mother provision is completely dishonest,” Schwend said in a statement.
“The confusion they’re sowing does not just deceive voters but endangers pregnant women in Nebraska who need to know that state law unequivocally allows for them to receive emergency care,” he added.