This week, we saw devastating news out of Texas in the fight for reproductive justice. A law that bans most abortions after six weeks, a time when most people don’t even know they’re pregnant, went into effect on Wednesday. Even if someone knew they were pregnant that early, they would have only days to confirm the pregnancy, make a deeply personal decision about the pregnancy, and then try to access care where a host of barriers including mandatory counseling, a waiting period, an ultrasound requirement and a parental consent requirement already stand in their way of choosing abortion.
Texas’s unprecedented abortion ban has the potential to spark an onslaught of unconstitutional bans from other states that are hostile toward abortion rights. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Nebraska is among 15 states identified in 2020 as hostile towards abortion rights. Nebraska state senators have relentlessly attempted to limit access to abortion over the last decade to chip away at a right truly fundamental to dignity and personal autonomy.
No matter one’s personal feelings about abortion, most Nebraskans agree that this deeply personal decision belongs to the patient, their doctors, and their families. It is a decision that is to be made without political interference because only the person making the decision can know their own individual circumstances.
Let’s be clear. Laws that restrict abortion do nothing but create more unnecessary barriers for those choosing to exercise their constitutional right to end a pregnancy.
Access to a deeply personal medical decision should never depend on the political whims of elected officials who legislate in this area without considering the real consequences to Nebraskans. This is why the power to choose must remain with individual Nebraskans and their families. Choice means nothing without access and we must be clear that the Texas ban as well as recent restrictions here in Nebraska disproportionately impact women of color, low-income women, and those living in rural areas.
What is happening in Texas is a grave reminder that this could happen in Nebraska. A new legislative session is not far off, and Gov. Ricketts has already said that he is “pleased” with Texas’ extreme ban and that it will factor into Nebraska’s legislative plans.
One thing is certain: we can’t let Nebraska state senators entertain proposing more restrictions on individual health care decisions.
Tell your state senator that we will not stand for any more restrictions on abortion care. They must stop the bans.