Nebraska Reacts to Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade
By Nebraska Public Media News Staff / Associated Press
June 28, 2022, 11 a.m. ·
Listen: Nebraska Public Media News' Will Bauer and Jackie Ourada discuss reaction in Nebraska to the Roe v. Wade decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. The decision stems from a ruling in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization involving a Mississippi law. The ruling means states can ban abortion and is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade puts the future of abortion rights in Nebraska in the hands of the Nebraska Legislature.
Currently, abortion is permitted in the state with certain restrictions. Those include that no abortion can be performed more than 20 weeks after fertilization. They also include a ban on a procedure known medically as dilation and evacuation, which critics call dismemberment abortion, used for some second-trimester abortions.
An attempt to pass a so-called trigger law, which would have banned abortions if Roe v. Wade were overturned, fell two votes short of overcoming a filibuster earlier this year.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement saying "Roe v. Wade took away the states' right to regulate abortion and cost millions of babies their lives." Ricketts added, "The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe is an answer to millions of prayers on behalf of the unborn and a victory for human life. I will be working with our legislative leaders to determine what more we can do to protect our preborn babies."
Reaction from Nebraska's U.S. senators came quickly. In a written statement, Senator Deb Fischer said, "I have always supported pro-life policies that show compassion for women and their unborn children. Both conservative and liberal legal scholars have long questioned the legal reasoning in Roe v. Wade. The justices made the right decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Center by affirming that there is no constitutional right to abortion." Fischer added, "Today’s ruling returns policy making decisions on this issue to state and federal lawmakers. It’s going to take good-faith and empathy to address it.”
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse also issued a written statement. “America’s work of becoming a more perfect Union is never over, but today – by righting a Constitutional wrong – the Supreme Court took a historic step forward," Sasse wrote. "Roe’s days are over, but the pro-life movement’s work has just begun. This issue will now be debated in the 50 states, and a 330,000,000-person, continental nation will work through this debate in a way that’s healthier than Roe’s one-size-fits-all, Washington-centrism."
Don Bacon, U.S. congressional representative for Nebraska's 2nd District, released a statement on Friday morning.
“Life is the most precious right and today’s decision in the Dobbs case affirms that. It does not outlaw abortion, but puts it in the hands of the elected representatives of the states and Congress. I know many have worked for decades to defend life, and today their prayers were answered. I urge all to respond with mutual respect, civility and grace.”
Bacon's challenger in the November election, State Senator Tony Vargas, also issued a statement. "Politicians don't belong in doctor's offices making medical decisions. Women should make the decisions that are the best for them with their doctors. Today's ruling by the Supreme Court takes away an established right that protected Americans’ health and safety for nearly 50 years," Vargas said.
Adrian Smith, representative of Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District sent out a similar statement.
“Life is a miracle that begins at conception. While today’s decision is a win for the pro-life movement, our work does not end here," Smith wrote. "We must ensure states – which are now rightfully tasked with authority over abortion – have the resources needed to restore a culture that respects and values life by supporting at-risk mothers, fathers, and children."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska said "advocates helped defeat a total ban (on abortion in Nebraska) earlier this year and they are ready to do so again."
“Most Nebraskans support keeping abortion legal in our state because they understand no one should be forced to carry a pregnancy against their will or face the life-altering consequences of being denied abortion care," said Scout Richters, ACLU of Nebraska legal and policy counsel. "This race to take away people’s rights is dangerous and dystopian — and we will do everything we can to stop it."
Andi Curry Grubb, Planned Parenthood North Central States state executive director in Nebraska said now is the time to do everything possible to keep abortion safe and legal in Nebraska.
“Nebraskans need to know abortion remains safe and legal in our state, and Planned Parenthood’s doors are open," Grubb said in a written statement. "Elections have consequences, and we are now living through an unprecedented moment in which our fundamental rights are being eviscerated. Every person deserves the right to control their own body. We know this, and so do the majority of Americans and Nebraskans who support abortion rights."
Chelsea Souder, founder and director of Nebraska Abortion Resources (NEAR) said in a statement, "We are heartbroken and so incredibly angry. Angry for what this means for patients, for how this will disproportionately affect BIPOC communities, rural communities and people with low incomes; for what this means for our loved ones, for our lives and futures. In Nebraska, we will keep helping people access abortion no matter what."
Friday's ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito.
This is a developing story. Check back with this story on nebraskapublicmedia.org for additional reporting.