By Governor Pete Ricketts
February 18, 2019
Official photo here.
It’s well-known that Nebraska is a pro-life state. Over the years, Senators, Governors, and pro-life advocates have worked to make Nebraska a national leader in public policy protecting the dignity of human life. Less than a year ago, the Legislature stood with Nebraskans and voted for a pro-life budget. This was a big step forward in protecting the dignity of human life.
The pro-life budget approved by the Legislature in 2018 built on Nebraska’s bipartisan work in leading on pro-life policy going back many years. In 1991, Senator Bernice Labedz of Omaha, a Democrat, led the effort to enact a law requiring parental notification before a minor receives an abortion. In 2002 and 2004, Lt. Governor Mike Foley, who was a Senator at the time, helped create new laws making fetal homicide and fetal assault a crime. In 2010, then Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk successfully championed the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” making Nebraska the first state in the nation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. In 2011, Senator Lydia Brasch of Bancroft successfully passed a new law requiring parental consent before a minor receives an abortion. These are just a few of the many examples of great pro-life bills passed into law over the last three decades.
This week, however, things took an unexpected turn in the Legislature. In a major break with our state’s pro-life traditions, the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee narrowly voted to strip the pro-life budget language, which prevents taxpayer dollars from going to abortion providers. This is a victory for radical pro-abortion activists. This decision by the budget committee is appalling, and I have strongly urged them to reverse it.
Pro-life Senators have also urged the Appropriations Committee to reconsider this initial vote, because how the state spends taxpayer dollars has deep implications for the dignity of human life and Nebraska’s core values. If the Appropriations Committee fails to take action, Senators are already stepping up to ensure that the pro-life budget provision gets put back in when the full Legislature votes on the budget. In the coming weeks, I will continue to visit with Senators about the importance of having a pro-life budget again this year.
This news from the Nebraska Legislature is especially troubling given recent events in New York and Virginia. New York recently voted to end all protections for unborn human life, allowing elective abortions up to the point of birth, and removing protections for babies that are born alive during failed abortion attempts. In Virginia, scandal-plagued Democrat Governor Ralph Northam suggested that babies could be born and kept alive while a decision is made whether the baby deserves to live. This is nothing less than an assault on the dignity of human life.
In light of these events, now more than ever it is time for Nebraskans to stand up and fight for life—and there are great opportunities to do so right now. In addition to the pro-life budget, there is another important pro-life bill that needs your support this year. Senator Joni Albrecht of Thurston has introduced LB 209. This bill would strengthen the state’s informed consent protections by requiring doctors to provide information about how to reverse the abortion pill when the drug is prescribed. At the federal level, Senator Ben Sasse has been working to pass the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.” This bill would protect babies that survive abortions by requiring that babies born alive receive professional medical care. Democrats recently tried to block a vote on this bill, however, Senator Sasse has successfully secured a roll-call vote on this measure, which is scheduled for February 25th.
Stripping important pro-life language out of our state budget is wrong and sends the message that Nebraska is no longer committed to our core values. As Senators work on the budget, they will be listening to you. If you would like to see a pro-life budget again this year, I encourage you to contact your Senator and let them know. Their contact information can be found at www.NebraskaLegislature.gov. If you have questions on any matter, you are always welcome to contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 402-471-2244. Working together, we can keep Nebraska pro-life.