A bill to immediately ban abortions in the Nebraska if the U-S Supreme Court ever overturns the 1973 Roe v Wade decision legalizing the procedure fell victim to a filibuster on Wednesday.
Backers fell 2 votes short of invoking cloture to end debate and move to a vote on LB 933. It takes 33 votes for cloture and the margin was 31-15, likely killing the bill for this year and keeping Nebraska from being the 14th state with a so-called trigger law.
LB 933 was brought to the floor through a seldom-used “pull motion” after it became stuck in the Judiciary Committee, where the members were split 4-4.
Supporters argued it would ensure Nebraska is among the first states to outlaw abortion if the court overturns Roe v. Wade while opponents called it an intrusion on a woman’s ability to make personal medical decisions.
The 8 hours of debate was often emotional and personal as senators told stories about their decisions on abortions in their lives, their religious beliefs, troubled pregnancies, and attempts to adopt.
The bill had no penalties for women getting abortions but doctors who performed them could have faced felony charges.
That led 150 Nebraska physicians to sign an online petition opposing the bill. The Nebraska Medical Association and the Nebraska Pharmacists Association both opposed the measure.
Past surveys have shown that while a majority of Nebraskans oppose abortion, an even bigger majority oppose a total ban.
The ACLU of Nebraska released a poll of 500 registered voters Wednesday that showed 55% opposed a total ban with just 40% in favor of one.