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Nebraska abortion rights advocates say they are ‘horrified’ but ready to help women find access to care

By: - June 30, 2022 4:47 pm

Omaha’s rally in support of abortion at Memorial Park on Friday, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. View is to the west along Dodge Street. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — Abortion rights advocates said Thursday that while they’re “horrified” by the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down the right to abortion, they stand ready to attempt to help women find access to abortion care elsewhere.

Candi Jones of Survivors Rising, which helps victims of domestic violence, said she didn’t want to think about an abortion ban coming to Nebraska, but that advocates are prepared to protect women and help them find abortion care elsewhere, despite limited funds.

 “All we can do is provide the resources and the care so they can go where they need to go,” Jones said.

 Jones was one of five advocates speaking at a news conference hosted by the ACLU of Nebraska.

 They said that those most impacted if a ban went into effect will be low-income women, women of color, transgender and non gender conforming women, as well as victims of domestic violence. 

There are three million women in the U.S., Jones said, who have had “rape-related” pregnancies.

About 39% of all women in Nebraska are low income or poor, according to Angela Swatsworth, executive director of OutNebraska, which advocates for Nebraska’s LGBTQ community. 

“If abortion were to become illegal in Nebraska, an unfair burden would be placed on these women,” Swatsworth said. 

 Women would have to leave the state for abortion care, she said, which is not an option for those who are poor and low income. 

 Sandy Danek, the executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, said there are many “life-affirming options” other than abortion, and that the state has in the past provided support for women in crisis who have an unplanned pregnancy. 

 Danek said that money spent trying to maintain abortion rights would be better spent providing for the “physical, emotional and spiritual” needs of women who underwent a traumatic abortion.

 Fifty years of Roe, she said, “has created this culture that the only way a woman can become empowered is if they can have an abortion.”

Advocates on the ACLU call said they expect options like medical abortions to be banned as well if the Nebraska Legislature holds a special session this summer. They said that women and their doctors should drive health care decisions, not politicians.

Jones said that victims of domestic violence are often under such control by their perpetrators that they “cannot walk down the street to the grocery store.”

“You tell me how they can go to another state to get an abortion,” she said.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.

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