With new senator, Nebraska abortion opponents gain ground

OMAHA, Neb. — Abortion-rights opponents inched nearer to a filibuster-proof super-majority within the Nebraska Legislature on Tuesday that might allow them to outlaw the process if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its landmark legalization ruling, because it seems poised to do.

Nebraska lawmakers had been two votes brief this year on a invoice that might have routinely banned abortions if the courtroom offers states that energy.

On Tuesday, Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed a new state senator, Kathleen Kauth, to fill the seat of the late Sen. Rich Pahls, who died in April attributable to issues from most cancers. Pahls opposed abortion and would have voted for the ban, however he was absent through the vote due to his well being issues.

Kauth, a Republican and proprietor of a mediation business, mentioned she would “consider it an honor” to vote for a invoice much like a proposed abortion ban that narrowly stalled. Supporters fell two votes in need of the help they wanted to beat a filibuster within the one-house Legislature, which successfully killed the invoice.

“I am pro-life and I thought the bill that was recently presented was a very solid one,” Kauth mentioned after she was sworn into office.

Pahls was additionally against abortion and sure would have supported the ban, however his well being points brought about him to overlook this year’s vote the place the invoice stalled.

Ricketts and different high conservatives have mentioned they’re going to search a particular legislative session this year to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, as a draft opinion leaked in May suggests.

Supporters wanted 33 lawmakers to beat a filibuster on the proposal earlier this year, however the ultimate vote was 31-15. With Kauth in office, abortion-rights opponents are actually one vote shy of what they should cross a ban.

One different lawmaker, Democratic state Sen. Justin Wayne, of Omaha, is seen as a key swing vote who may give abortion-rights opponents the final little bit of help they should cross it.

Wayne was absent from the legislative chamber when lawmakers thought of the ban in April, and he has declined to say whether or not he would help or oppose it. An aide mentioned Tuesday that Wayne wouldn’t be out there to remark.

Other Democrats have promised a no-holds-barred struggle to protect abortion rights in Nebraska. Sen. Megan Hunt, of Omaha, warned in May that she would make a particular session “the most excruciating, painful experience” that her fellow lawmakers have ever skilled.

Ricketts, who has fought for years to clamp down on abortion, mentioned Kauth’s position on the difficulty performed a sizeable position in his choice to nominate her. He mentioned he additionally appreciated her business background and involvement in varied Omaha-area neighborhood teams.

“I always look for pro-life candidates,” he said.

Ricketts has said he intends to work with Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers, another Republican, on a possible special session if the court rules as they hope.

It’s unclear how they would proceed if they still lacked the votes, but Ricketts said Tuesday: “If we call a special session, I fully intend for it to be successful.”


Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter:

Back to top button