A coalition of left-wing groups is officially launching its effort to enshrine the supposed “right” to abortion into the Nebraska constitution on the heels of a pro-life loss in Ohio on November 7.
Protect Our Rights, a coalition endorsed by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska, submitted proposed petition language to the Nebraska Secretary of State in October. The language was “kept under wraps until Wednesday, when the state’s top elections office released it,” the Associated Press reported. Organizers are officially holding a news conference on Thursday.
The proposed amendment would reportedly declare a fundamental right to abortion until “fetal viability”— which is generally considered to be between 22 to 24 weeks of gestation — or “when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient,” according to the report.
“Under the petition language, the patient’s health care practitioner would determine fetal viability,” the report states.
The left-wing coalition must collect roughly 125,000 valid signatures by summer 2024 for the amendment to appear on the ballot in 2024.
“We’re confident in this effort, and we’re energized,” said Ashlei Spivey, founder and executive director of I Be Black Girl, an Omaha-based reproductive rights group and coalition member.
Republican Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen signed a bill in May 2023 that restricts abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy and outlaws “gender-affirming care” for minors. Before the 12-week limit was in effect, Nebraska limited abortions to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Paige Brown, a spokesperson for the Nebraska Catholic Conference, told AP the state’s major pro-life groups will be focusing on defending the state’s current limit, which includes exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
“The vast majority of Nebraskans agree this is reasonable public policy,” Brown said.
After the fall of Roe, which had invented a federal “right” to abortion in the Constitution, abortion was returned to individual states and their elected representatives, changing the nature of the struggle between the pro-life movement and the abortion industry. Pro-abortion organizations and activists, backed by the affiliates of large left-wing organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, have stealthily turned to ballot measures in the hopes of shoring up and even growing the abortion complex in the shift from federal to state power.
And so far, their plan is working — every single abortion-related ballot measure since the fall of Roe has been successful. During the 2022 special elections, Kansans rejected a ballot measure that would have established that the state constitution does not include a right to abortion. During the 2022 midterms, voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont codified abortion into their constitutions. At the same time, voters in Montana rejected a ballot measure that would have given rights to babies born alive in botched abortions. Voters in Kentucky also rejected an amendment similar to the one in Kansas. On November 7, Ohioans also voted to codify the supposed “right” to abortion in their state constitution via Issue 1.
Ballot measures are particularly effective as an offensive weapon because they are basically irreversible: they change a state constitution, take precedence over laws passed by state legislatures, and can only be overturned by another ballot measure.
These measures are propped up by national left-wing organizations with deep pockets, out-of-state dark money groups, and billionaires with eugenicist leanings, oftentimes outspending pro-life organizations by double or triple.
Emboldened by their success with amendments, pro-abortion activists are seeking to introduce ballot measures in several other states going into 2024 besides Nebraska, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and South Dakota.
In the aftermath of 2022 and Ohio, pro-life organizations say they are reevaluating how they want to tackle the issue moving forward — especially as they gear up to face a tsunami of ballot measures in 2024. These organizations, which cut their teeth for 50 years while working toward the overturn of Roe, are ultimately faced with the challenge of becoming as strategic and well-funded as their opponents while refusing to compromise on the view that human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection until natural death.
“The pro-life movement must adapt to win. We have to throw out the old playbook and dive headfirst into a strategy that can win the hearts and minds of the American people and translate into electoral victory,” founder and president of Live Action Lila Rose said in a statement via email following the loss in Ohio. “That strategy starts with fully embracing and educating on the truth. Human life is valuable and must be legally protected. Human life begins at fertilization. Abortion is a murderous act of violence. Embracing the truth with courage is the first step towards the next political victory.”
Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.