6-Week Abortion Ban Fails Cloture Vote, Likely Dead For Session

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      A bill banning abortion after about 6 weeks and before most women know they’re pregnant failed a second-round debate cloture vote today in the Nebraska legislature and is apparently – but not definitely dead for the session.

     A spokesman for Speaker John Arch says because LB 626 is a senator’s priority measure and lost a cloture vote, Arch won’t bring it back but two senators voted present instead of yes or no and can call for a motion to reconsider the motion.

Lawmakers are off until Tuesday, so it’s not clear what will happen next.

      The Heartbeat Act would ban abortions after cardiac activity is detected, but Republican Senator Merv Riepe, who voted for the bill on first-round consideration, introduced an amendment to change the 6-week limit to 12-weeks.

     Bill sponsor Joni Albrecht moved for the cloture vote before voting on Riepe’s amendment and he joined Democrat in voting present on cloture, leaving Albrecht one vote short of halting debate and allowing a vote on the bill itself.

      Governor Jim Pillen issued a statement blasting Riepe, saying “It is unacceptable for senators to be present not voting on such a momentous vote. I call on Senator Merv Riepe to make a motion to reconsider and stand by the commitments to Life he has made in the past.”

      Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb didn’t mention Riepe by name, but praised the legislature’s Democrats and “one Republican” for protecting women’s reproductive freedom in our state. 

     Kleeb also says the Democratic Party plans to take the abortion issue to the voters next year so they know which senators wanted to take away their reproductive rights and the freedom to make health decisions for themselves and their families.