Nebraska’s stricter abortion ban and trans health care limits law won’t face injunction during appeal

By: - September 14, 2023 3:21 pm
Nebraska Supreme Court

The Nebraska Supreme Court is housed at the Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln. (Rebecca S. Gratz for the Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court this week allowed Nebraska’s new law combining a stricter abortion ban with new limits on gender-affirming care for minors to remain in effect for now.

Opponents of LB 574 filled the Nebraska State Capitol Rotunda. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

The court rejected the injunction sought by Planned Parenthood and ACLU Nebraska. Both groups had argued that women and others seeking abortion care are facing problems obtaining help. 

ACLU Nebraska’s Rose Godinez said in a statement that she was disappointed the court didn’t stop the law from taking effect until the legal appeal could be heard. She said she remains hopeful the court will ultimately rule their way.

The core issue

The lawsuit focuses on a state constitutional requirement that the Legislature cannot “logroll” bills on unrelated topics that could not pass on their own into bills that would pass if considered together.

Opponents of Legislative Bill 574 have argued that it violated the state’s so-called single-subject rule by combining the abortion ban and anti-trans legislation.

Nearly 30 Nebraska lawmakers joined Gov. Jim Pillen and representatives from the Nebraska Family Alliance, Nebraska Catholic Conference and Nebraska Right to Life for the signing of LB 574. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Defenders of the new law, including Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers, have argued that both bills deal with health care that impacts young people and thus share a single subject.

Legal future

In August, Lancaster County District Judge Lori Maret agreed. She tossed out the Planned Parenthood and ACLU lawsuit challenging the abortion section of the new law. The plaintiffs appealed and await a hearing date before the state Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the court punted on pausing the abortion ban, which the Legislature tightened by about 10 weeks, to 12 weeks gestation. 

Separate legal efforts, focused on the portions of the law targeting several procedures and treatments for trans young people, are expected to be filed once those restrictions go into effect in October.

The Attorney General’s Office had no immediate comment on the court’s action.

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Aaron Sanderford
Aaron Sanderford

Political reporter Aaron Sanderford has tackled various news roles in his 20-plus year career. He has reported on politics, crime, courts, government and business for the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star. He also worked as an assignment editor and editorial writer. He was an investigative reporter at KMTV.