National News

Nebraska Voters Could Be Faced With A Trio Of Abortion-Related Measures on Ballots This Year

People vote at the San Francisco City Hall voting center during the primary election March 5, 2024. This year, several states will have abortion initiatives on the November ballot. (OSV News photo/Loren Elliott, Reuters)

WASHINGTON — Several states this year will have abortion-related constitutional amendment measures on the ballot, but in Nebraska, voters could potentially see three different abortion initiatives.

Three groups are currently gathering signatures to place amendments on the ballot. They have until July 3 to turn in signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office.

An initiative “Protect Our Rights Nebraska” would enshrine the right to an abortion in the state constitution up until fetal viability between 22 and 24 weeks.

The second initiative, “Protect Women and Children,” would allow no abortions after the first trimester which is similar to the state’s current law and would allow the Legislature to place more restrictions on abortion in the future.

The final initiative that was just introduced in late May is “Now Choose Life,” which would grant personhood under the law to embryos and fetuses in a mother’s womb, giving the unborn similar rights to born children.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, is urging Catholic voters to do their part to defeat the “proposed pro-abortion ballot initiative,” that would enshrine abortion as a right.

On its website, the state Catholic conference said: “America’s largest abortion provider and out-of-state interests are leading an effort to create a right to late-pregnancy abortion in the Nebraska Constitution. You’re needed to defeat this effort.”

It added that: “Nebraskans need to know how this proposal is dangerous, deceptive, and demeaning, why it must be opposed, and how we can defeat it.”

The conference said the Protect our Rights initiative uses “vague, subtle language to deceive Nebraskans and allow unrestricted abortions in our state constitution” which they said would allow teenagers to access abortion without their parent’s knowledge and create the right to a “risky late-pregnancy abortion.”

The state’s bishops, before the third proposal was launched, said the Protect Women and Children proposal was “morally permissible for Nebraskans to support” and noted that it was “launched by medical professionals to help defeat the pro-abortion proposal.”

They offered specific caveats for supporting this initiative though, namely that voters “must understand that all abortion must be opposed, and that direct abortion is never morally acceptable under any circumstances.”

They urged voters to view this proposal as “an incremental step toward full protection of all human life from abortion, and not as a permanent compromise” and to also understand that it is an “imperfect alternative to the intrinsically evil pro-abortion ballot initiative.” 

“That pro-abortion ballot initiative cannot be supported under any circumstance and must be rejected,” the Catholic conference added.

The conference urged Catholics to pray and fast for the pro-abortion initiative’s defeat, talk about the issue with friends and family members, spread the word on social media, host a parish talk about the issue and volunteer with the state Catholic conference to help spread the word about dangers of voting in favor of the pro-abortion initiative.