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Reaffirming the Right to Life

Reaffirming the Right to Life

By Governor Pete Ricketts

January 25, 2022

 

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We’re on the cusp of a historic moment in America.  After 49 years, the Supreme Court is set to revisit the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973.  This year, they have an opportunity to undo one of the worst decisions ever made by our nation’s highest court.

 

The National Right to Life Committee estimates that over 63 million abortions have taken place in America since Roe v. Wade.  That’s more than 50 times the number of Americans who have died in all U.S. wars combined.  The sheer number of unborn babies who’ve lost their lives through abortion is staggering.  As a nation, we must put an end to the lie that one person’s so-called right to privacy trumps the right of another to live.

 

Nebraska is a pro-life state.  State law declares “the will of the people of the State of Nebraska and the members of the Legislature to provide protection for the life of the unborn child whenever possible.”  We are always looking for ways to cultivate greater respect for the dignity of unborn human life.  Nebraskans consistently speak out and stand up in defense of the unborn.  Each January, thousands of pro-life supporters gather on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol—regardless of the weather—for the annual Walk for Life.  Churches hold vigils to pray for the protection of unborn children.  Every October, Nebraskans peacefully demonstrate their support for human dignity by forming a “Life Chain” on sidewalks of main streets.  Nebraskans show their pro-life convictions on license plates and roadside signs.  They volunteer time at crisis pregnancy centers to serve expectant mothers.  They generously give to help new parents prepare to welcome a child into their home. 

 

Nebraskans do all this, and more, because we recognize that the right to life is one of the most basic truths.  There’s a reason it’s the first right affirmed in the Declaration of Independence.  Over the years, we’ve enacted pro-life policies in Nebraska to protect the sacredness of life from the moment it begins. 

 

  • In 2002 and 2004, Lt. Governor Mike Foley, a state senator at the time, helped enact laws making fetal homicide and fetal assault crimes. 
  • In 2010, then-Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk successfully championed a bill to make Nebraska the first state in the nation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. 
  • In 2011, Senator Lydia Brasch of Bancroft led efforts to require parental consent before a minor receives an abortion.

 

During my time in office, we’ve continued to affirm the dignity of life.

 

  • In 2017, Senator Joni Albrecht championed the Compassionate Care for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act.  It ensures that doctors equip women with information on perinatal hospice care after an unborn child is diagnosed with a lethal fetal anomaly.  This gives mothers and their families immediate awareness of resources to help them cope with this heartbreaking challenge.
  • In 2018, the Legislature approved another bill sponsored by Senator Albrecht to provide commemorative certificates to mothers who miscarry.  It affirms the dignity of life and humanely acknowledges the loss that a mother undergoes through miscarriage.
  • In 2019, Senator Albrecht successfully secured passage of a bill to bolster the state’s informed consent protections.  It requires doctors to direct women to information on how to reverse the abortion pill when the drug is prescribed. 
  • In 2020, Senator Geist put forward LB 814 to end the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion in Nebraska. 
  • In 2021, State Senators worked together to pass a new tax credit for families who have a stillborn baby to help offset medical bills, burial expenses, and costs of preparing for the baby’s arrival.

 

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it would likely restore authority to the 50 states to decide how to regulate abortion.  This means our state senators have important work to do to prepare for the possibility of the Court doing away with Roe v. Wade.

 

There are three main bills in the Legislature this session to limit abortion:

 

  • LB 933: Senators Joni Albrecht and Mike Flood have introduced the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act.  If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it would criminalize the performance of abortion procedures in Nebraska.
  • LB 781: Senator Julie Slama is sponsoring the Heartbeat Act.  It requires a physician to perform an ultrasound prior to performing an abortion.  If a heartbeat is detected, the bill would make it unlawful for a physician to perform an abortion.
  • LB 1086: Senator Suzanne Geist has put forward the Chemical Abortion Safety Protocol Act.  It requires abortion-inducing drugs to be provided by a physician.  It prohibits physicians from providing any abortion-inducing drug to a woman whose pregnancy is more than forty-nine days of gestational age. 

 

As these bills are debated, I ask that you encourage your state senator to protect the unborn.  You can find their contact information at www.NebraskaLegislature.gov

 

Each life is a precious gift from God.  This year, we could see “a new birth of freedom” in America if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.  Whatever happens in federal court, let’s work to give every baby boy and girl in Nebraska the opportunity to live the Good Life.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the pro-life policies of my administration, please write me at pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or call 402-471-2244.