Last week, Nebraska fell one vote short of enacting a heartbeat bill that would protect preborn babies from abortion after their heartbeat can be detected, which generally occurs around six-weeks gestation.
The Nebraska Heartbeat Act (LB 626) would have prevented 85% of abortions in Nebraska, saving 2,000 lives annually.
On April 27, the Nebraska state Senate voted on LB 626; 33 votes were needed to overcome a filibuster and advance the bill to a final vote. The bill garnered 32 votes.
According to the Nebraska Family Alliance (NFA), a Focus on the Family-allied state family policy council, the bill fell one-vote short due to state Senator Merv Riepe. NFA summarizes:
Senator Merv Riepe, a Republican state senator from Ralston who campaigned as being 100% pro-life, changed his vote and caused the bill to fall one vote short of advancing. Senator Riepe opted to not cast a vote at all and was “present-not-voting.” …
We needed 33 votes to overcome the filibuster and advance the bill to final reading. Today’s vote was 32-15, with two senators “present-not-voting.”
It’s tragic that LB 626 failed by just one vote.
But last week’s vote was also revealing in another way.
After the vote, state Senator Megan Hunt – who voted against LB 626 and has “Bi queen. She/her” in her Twitter bio – posted an eerie and discomfiting video on Twitter. The video is of dozens of pro-abortion activists – nearly all women – applauding, crying, cheering, whooping, and hugging in the Nebraska Capitol because of the bill’s failure.
Here is the video (which has garnered 3.7 million views):
Speechless. Thank you. Abortion is legal in Nebraska. pic.twitter.com/56UgThZoo5
— Senator Megan Hunt (@NebraskaMegan) April 27, 2023
There’s perhaps no video that better reveals so clearly the mindset of the anti-life Left. Gone are the days when abortion was seen by the Left as a tragic, though sometimes necessary, decision.
Now it is openly seen as an unqualified, positive good to be cheered and applauded with great passion.
How else could we get to a time when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellon has argued that abortion must be legal, because banning it “would have very damaging effects on the economy” (emphasis added).
The Left used to argue that abortion is sometimes necessary, and always heartbreaking. You’ll remember the mantra: “Safe, legal and rare,” even used by then-presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 Democrat presidential primary.
Asked whether she would be willing to work with pro-life supporters to reduce the number of abortions to zero (that’s right, zero), Clinton responded, “Yes. Yes. Yes.”
That is what I have tried to talk about … abortion being safe, legal, and rare. And by rare, I mean rare (emphasis added).
The Left has moved on from this rhetoric, and now openly cheers for abortion.
This is not your grandmother’s pro-abortion movement.
Let’s be clear, abortion is never something to be applauded. It’s only something to be mourned.
Abortion is never something to be cheered. It’s only something to be outlawed.
Abortion is never something to be excited about. It’s only something to be worked against.
Preborn babies – and their mothers – deserve better than abortion.
Regarding the failure of LB 626, there is a silver lining here. Last Thursday’s vote is not the end for the Nebraska Heartbeat Act.
After the vote on April 27, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen issued the following statement:
I am a staunch defender of Life and supporter of the Nebraska Heartbeat Act. I am profoundly disappointed in the cloture vote today. 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.
Additionally, the Nebraska Family Alliance has said that it will continue to push for the Act.
“We are not done – even this session,” NFA said (emphasis in original). “No option is off the table to find a way to get meaningful pro-life legislation passed this year.”
There are many legislative avenues still available to senators to amend other bills and find ways to start protecting babies from abortion in Nebraska. We will explore them all, and we will find a way.
Though the heartbeat bill failed, current Nebraska law does prohibit abortion after a preborn baby is 20 weeks old.
Praise God that there are stalwart groups like the Nebraska Family Alliance who will not rest until all life is protected and cherished.
Focus on the Family has been working to turn the cultural tide and save mothers and babies from abortion for years. Since beginning the Option Ultrasound Program in 2004, Focus has helped save nearly half a million lives.
Our goal is to save one million babies by 2025. Just $60 will save a life through Option Ultrasound. Will you partner with us to save a life from abortion here?
If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and want to learn more about your options, visit My Choice Network.
Focus on the Family offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.
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