ACLU of Nebraska hosts discussion on impact of abortion bans

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Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:57 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - ACLU of Nebraska on Thursday hosted several area activists in a discussion about the impact of the repeal of Roe v. Wade on Nebraska and the effect an abortion ban could have on the state.

ACLU of Nebraska was joined by representatives of Survivors Rising, I Be Black Girl, OutNebraska, and Poor People’s Campaign Nebraska, as well as a youth advocate.

The discussion comes as Gov. Pete Ricketts weighs his decision to call the state Legislature back for a special session. During a news conference Wednesday, the governor shared his thoughts on possible exceptions to an abortion ban in Nebraska that have been in discussion. While he didn’t mention incest or rape as exceptions he would allow in a bill he might sign, Ricketts did say he believed in “double-effect,” a scenario in which life-saving measures for mothers would adversely affect their “pre-born babies.” He also said he didn’t think any potential future legislation would impact in-vitro fertilization.

Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday talked about one abortion ban exception he would consider allowing in a bill he might sign.

Candi Jones, board chairwoman of Survivors Rising, raised concerns about the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Access to legal, safe abortions is a right for everyone, but for Black women who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, this decision impacts us greatly. What we know is that reproductive coercion, forced pregnancies, and rape resulting in pregnancy are all risk factors and it happens in the communities we serve,” she said in an ACLU news release.

Nyomi Thompson, policy and advocacy manager at I Be Black Girl, said changes to abortion rules in Nebraska will only make an already bad healthcare situation worse for women.

“We demand reproductive freedom. Black women and folks with reproductive systems have been afflicted for centuries by policing and harm to our bodies,” she said in the release. “Further exacerbating already existing racial disparities in health care by removing or limiting abortion care will not be tolerated. We deserve to decide.”

OutNebraska executive director Abbi Swatsworth said the repeal of Roe v. Wade strips away rights not just from women, but from many who already are having to fight their way through some parts of society.

“We need to push back on any decision that seeks to strip away cherished rights. Whether abortion, contraception, sexual intimacy or marriage, these are among our basic liberties and the Supreme Court has no reason to disrupt our right to make these decisions for ourselves,” she said in the release. “We will fight for abortion access and reproductive choice for all people — especially BIPOC transgender, nonbinary and other gender-nonconforming people who already face significant intersectional barriers to health care.”

Angela Montalvo, coordinating committee tri-chair for Poor People’s Campaign Nebraska, said the Supreme Court’s decision will also have a tremendous impact on those who are often struggling every day just to survive.

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade efforts are underway in Nebraska to ensure abortion rights are protected.

“The immediate and long-term impact of this decision in Dobbs v. Jackson will be disproportionately felt by poor women, women of color, transgender and gender-nonconforming people, all of whom already face increased health care disparities and economic insecurity,” she said in the release.

Youth advocate Morgan Ryan raised concerns that the decision paves the way to restrict access to birth control.

“Nebraska youth already face substantial obstacles when seeking the abortion care they need from the cost for the abortion itself, transportation and a burdensome notarized parental consent requirement,” she said in the release. “If the Nebraska Legislature is successful in banning abortions, this crucial medical procedure will become out of reach for many young people in our state. Make no mistake, the banning of abortions and certain methods of birth control would be devastating to the aspirations and life goals of young Nebraskans.”

ACLU of Nebraska said earlier this week that it has seen an increase in activism in the days since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last Friday.

According to a release from the organization, its webpage outlining the ways Nebraskans can “take action to protect abortion access” in the state saw elevated traffic over the past weekend. That correlates with a continuation of protests here in Omaha, elsewhere in Nebraska, and around the country.

Watch Thursday’s livestream

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