Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Nebraska abortion rights groups collect enough signatures to advance ballot measure

By 37ci3 Jul3,2024

A proposed amendment to Nebraska’s state constitution to provide access to abortion services moved closer to appearing on the November ballot after a coalition of reproductive rights advocates submitted the required number of valid signatures to state officials on Wednesday.

Defend Our Rights, the group leading the ballot, said it had collected more than 207,000 signatures from registered voters — more than the roughly 123,000 it needs to submit by Friday to continue the process of getting its proposal on the ballot. .

The group said it met the requirement under state law to cover at least 5% of registered voters in 38 of the state’s 93 counties — a hurdle seen as a particularly difficult hurdle for abortion rights groups in the state.

In red Nebraska, a disproportionate number of Democratic voters live in several counties that include Omaha and Lincoln; only two In 2020, 93 states voted for President Joe Biden.

The measure proposed by Protect Our Rights — a coalition that includes Planned Parenthood North Central States and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska — would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution until fetal viability, or about the 24th week of pregnancy. The proposal envisages exceptions for the woman’s life and health beyond that period.

“As mothers, doctors, families, concerned citizens and people managing pregnancy, we believe that patients and providers should have the freedom to make their own health decisions, not politicians,” said Ashley Spivey, a member of Protect Our Rights’ Executive Committee, at a news conference Wednesday.

She added: “We believed that people should be treated with compassion and have the privacy to decide whether and when they should make the deeply personal decision to have an abortion. We also believe that health care providers should not be criminalized or forced to delay care.” .or put their patients’ lives at risk due to excessive restrictions and political interference.

Abortion is currently illegal in Nebraska after the 12th week of pregnancyexcept for rape, consanguinity, and saving the mother’s life.

If voters passed the proposed amendment, it would effectively repeal that law.

Nebraska is one of 11 states where organizers are trying to enshrine abortion rights in state constitutions through citizen-led ballot initiatives. The measures are officially on the ballot in Maryland, New York, Florida, South Dakota and Colorado. Organizers Arizona On Wednesday, he presented signatures to state officials for his efforts.

In the two years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, voters in several states, including California, Michigan and Ohio, have approved ballot measures guaranteeing abortion rights.

However, organizers in Nebraska still face some hurdles until November.

Opponents of the ballot measure still have several weeks to challenge the signatures. And most importantly, two additional efforts with competing reproductive rights measures could complicate the path forward for efforts to support reproductive rights.

an effort Backed by anti-abortion groups including the Nebraska Catholic Conference and Nebraska Right to Life, it is seeking to submit to voters a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban abortion after the first trimester, except when the abortion is “a medical emergency or the abortion is necessary. pregnancy is caused by sexual assault or incest”.

Anti-abortion groups working to advance the measure said organizers had submitted more than 205,000 signatures to state officials on Wednesday, more than the required amount.

Another effort, launched by a group of individual anti-abortion activists, seeks to amend the state constitution to add the phrase “a preborn child is a person at every stage of development.” If passed, it would effectively ban all abortion care and likely affect fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization. Organizers behind the effort were still gathering signatures ahead of the state’s deadline.

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By 37ci3

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