Nebraska Cancels Special Session to Change Abortion Laws

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
August 9, 2022Roe v. Wade
Nebraska Cancels Special Session to Change Abortion Laws
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (L) and Jan Jekielek, host of The Epoch Times's "American Thought Leaders," in the state's capitol in Lincoln, Neb., on June 24, 2021. (Petr Svab/The Epoch Times)

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday canceled a proposed special session of the state legislature intended to reduce the current abortion ban from 20 weeks to 12 weeks.

Ricketts’s decision came after Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers indicated in a letter that an insufficient number of state senators would vote to amend Nebraska’s abortion laws.

“The senators’ letter shows we don’t have the 33 votes needed to pass legislation to protect more preborn babies. For this reason, I will not be calling a special session,” Ricketts said in a statement. “Nebraskans need to have more conversations on the value we place on human life so more meaningful protections can be passed in our state.”

In May, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion regarding an abortion case was leaked, the Nebraska governor vowed to call a special session to change the abortion law should the Roe v. Wade decision be overturned.

In June, after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe ruling that largely made abortion legal nationwide, Ricketts moved to make good on his promise to “do more to protect preborn babies.”

“It is deeply saddening that only 30 Nebraska state senators are willing to come back to Lincoln this fall in order to protect innocent life,” Ricketts said. He added that the proposed amendment is a “measured, reasonable step to protect more preborn babies in our state.”

‘Fully Formed’ at 20 Weeks

Despite the setback, the Nebraska governor reaffirmed his promise to “affirm the rights of preborn babies and to support pregnant women, children, and families in need.”

He noted that under Nebraska’s current law, babies can be aborted up to 20 weeks gestation.

“At this age, babies are nearly fully formed. They can kick, swallow, hear, and respond to sounds outside the womb. They suck their thumbs. They can feel pain,” he said. But under Nebraska’s current law, Ricketts said babies up to 20 weeks gestation “can still be killed before they have that chance.”

The governor noted that medical advancements meant “more and more” babies at this stage of gestation can survive premature birth “and go on to live vibrant lives.”

According to studies, there have been increases in the survival rate and neurodevelopmental outcomes for babies born pre-27 weeks.

Babies born before 26 weeks of gestation are often called “micro premies” and require long stays in neonatal intensive care units. According to reports, babies born extremely preterm are surviving into adulthood.

There is around a 10 percent chance of survival for preterm babies born at 22 weeks. At 26 weeks gestation, the survival rate is around 90 percent. These outcomes and treatments differ in different countries.

“Most of the free world has more reasonable abortion laws than Nebraska. Over 75 percent of countries around the world have placed restrictions on abortion at 12 weeks. Our 20-week abortion ban puts us in line with a narrow ten percent of countries—including countries like North Korea and China—that fail to protect preborn babies,” Ricketts said.

The governor called on pro-life Nebraskans to write to their lawmakers to encourage them to support changing the state’s abortion laws.

From The Epoch Times

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