ACLU, Planned Parenthood hope to halt Nebraska’s 12-week abortion law

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit asking the court to block a recently-enacted Nebraska law that prohibits abortion after 12 weeks. The organization is also seeking a preliminary injunction against the law while the suit is being considered.

In a press release detailing the lawsuit, the ACLU said it is representing Planned Parenthood and Dr. Sarah Traxler, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood North Central States.

On May 22, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen signed the Let Them Grow Act, which, in part, limits abortion to the first trimester of pregnancy, though it does include exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother (read more about why an induced abortion — the direct and intentional killing of a preborn child — is not medically necessary).

The abortion advocates are hinging their lawsuit on the claim that the law should not stand because the bill in question, LB 574, covered both abortion and transgender issues.

“We believe the combination of those bans violated the clear text of our state’s constitution,” ACLU Nebraska Executive Director Mindy Rush Chipman said. “The bottom line is that senators do not get to pick and choose which constitutional requirements they will follow when making laws.”

Sen. Kathleen Kauth, the bill’s original sponsor, disagreed with the complaint.

“I mean, it’s called the ‘Let Them Grow Act,’” she said. “I think restricting abortion is very much in that same subject.”

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Sen. Ben Hansen, who added the abortion component to the bill, agreed. “That has to do with letting children grow in the womb, letting children grow outside of the womb, so they’re relatable in that aspect,” he said.

Data from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services shows that in 2021, nearly 95% of all abortions in the state took place within the first 12 weeks. Based on this reporting, a very small percentage of preborn children are now protected under state law. Yet, the abortion industry is using fear to promote its lawsuit in relation to the law.

“Nebraskans are already being harmed under this dangerous abortion ban that was pushed through the Legislature using unprecedented tactics,” said Ruth Richardson, CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States“We are already having to inform patients that they will be unable to get the critical health care they need in Nebraska, and we only expect to see that number grow. We will do everything in our power to restore what should be a fundamental right to bodily autonomy.”

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