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Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen responds to Abortion Ballot Initiative that seeks to enshrine abortion in the State Constitution

by | Nov 20, 2023

By McKenna Snow

The governor of Nebraska issued a statement this past week responding to a Planned Parenthood-backed ballot initiative seeking to enshrine a right to abortion in Nebraska’s constitution.

This flawed initiative would radically expand abortion in Nebraska, resulting in the deaths of thousands of babies in mothers’ wombs,” stated Republican Gov. Jim Pillen on November 15, adding that the measure’s vague and deceptive language could throw open the doors to brutal late-term abortions, putting abortion providers in charge of judging whether, for example, a 39-week-old pre-born baby can be aborted. That is totally out of step with the pro-life principles of the overwhelming majority of Nebraskans… I will continue to fight to save as many babies’ lives as possible from abortion, including by working to defeat this initiative.

Pillen signed a bill in May of this year protecting life after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska is a project coalition partner in the “Protect Our Rights Campaign,” a ballot initiative seeking to enshrine the right to abortion up until fetal viability in the Nebraska State Constitution.

The Protect Our Rights group on Wednesday released the official proposed policy language for the Nebraska state constitution:

All persons shall have a fundamental right to abortion until fetal viability, or when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient, without interference from the state or its political subdivisions. Fetal viability means the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of the patient’s treating health care practitioner, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.

The ballot initiative’s goal is to put the amendment on the ballot next November. To accomplish this the group must collect about 122,000 signatures from Nebraska’s registered voters. Additionally, the signatures must be collected from 5% of registered voters in at least 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

“I’m going to fight [the pro-abortion ballot initiative] with every ounce of energy that I have because what it will lead to, if enacted, it will lead to doctors deciding — women deciding, doctors deciding whether a baby being born at 39 weeks can live or not,” Pillen told reporters on Wednesday.

“We are a pro-life state,” Pillen concluded. “We will continue to support moms and help them choose life and love.”

Editor’s note: McKenna Snow writes for CatholicVote, where this column originally appeared.

Categories: State Legislation