Bill banning abortions after 6 weeks fails to advance in Nebraska Legislature

April 27, 2023, 2 p.m. ·

Nebraska Capitol.JPG
Nebraska State Capitol (Courtesy

A bill that would ban abortions in Nebraska after six weeks of pregnancy fell one vote short in the Legislature on Thursday.

At the beginning of debate on the so-called “heartbeat bill,” an amendment was introduced by Sen. Merv Reipe, of Ralston, which would change the legislation to ban abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, instead of the six weeks the legislation called for.

Discussion of the bill and the amendment lasted four hours and 33 votes were needed to end debate.

Riepe, whose amendment would have likely failed, and Sen. Justin Wayne, of Omaha, abstained from voting, leaving supporters of LB 626 one vote shy of shutting off debate and voting on the bill itself.

Under a longstanding policy of legislative speakers, the bill will not be rescheduled for debate, effectively killing it for this year.

Governor Jim Pillen, a supporter of the bill, released the following statement:

"I am a staunch defender of Life and supporter of the Nebraska Heartbeat Act. I am profoundly disappointed in the cloture vote today. It is unacceptable for senators to be present not voting on such a momentous vote. I call on Senator Merv Riepe to make a motion to reconsider and stand by the commitments to Life he has made in the past."