LINCOLN — Two recent polls found that a majority of respondents were opposed to adding more restrictions to abortion rights in Nebraska.
One poll, released Wednesday by the ACLU of Nebraska, found that 59% of 604 registered voters polled in mid-November either “somewhat opposed” or “strongly opposed” the enactment of “more restrictive abortion bans” in the state.
48% strongly oppose further bans
The ACLU poll found that those who “strongly opposed” further bans on abortion outnumbered those who “strongly supported” more restrictions by a margin of 48% to 24%.
Scout Richters, the ACLU’s senior legal and policy counsel, said the poll results should prompt state senators to keep abortion legal.
“Months since the end of Roe, we are seeing the horrifying impact of extreme abortion bans in other states, and Nebraskans do not want that here,” Richters said in a press release.
The ACLU’s poll comes three weeks after the Omaha-based Holland Children’s Institute released a poll indicating that 67% of 600 registered voters polled in mid-October opposed a total ban on abortion.
2023 session begins next week
Both polls come as the Nebraska Legislature prepares to begin its 2023 session on Jan. 4. Legislation is expected to be introduced to further limit legal abortion in the state on the heels of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, which opened the way for states to decide the issue of abortion rights.
Sandy Danek, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, said the polls contradict what she hears from Nebraskans at events such as the State Fair, which is that the state’s current ban on abortion after 20 weeks is “pretty liberal.”
“Nebraska is pro life,” Danek said Wednesday. “They want to see protection, not only for the child in the womb but the woman who is going through the consequences of abortion.”
Overall, she said, there’s a “great need” for more education on the issue of abortion laws and great disappointment among abortion opponents that Nebraska’s law isn’t more restrictive.
European restrictions more stringent
For instance, Danek said, most European counties now ban abortion after the 12th week or the 15th week.
She added that she expected bills to be introduced in the 2023 legislative session on both sides of the issue, though it’s still unclear what exact legislation is coming.
The ACLU said its recent polling mirrors results of a March poll it commissioned. In that poll, 55% of respondents opposed a proposed “trigger bill” in the Nebraska Legislature that would have banned all abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
That bill, in the face of a filibuster by senators who support abortion rights, was killed.
Later, after the Supreme Court ruled, Gov. Pete Ricketts dropped plans to call a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill restricting abortions after 12 weeks due to a lack of enough lawmakers to overcome a filibuster.
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