On Halloween, abortion extremists in Nebraska announced a trick they’ll play on Nebraskans over the upcoming campaign season: a full-fledged ballot initiative effort to enshrine Roe v. Wade-style abortion protections in the Nebraska state constitution. What does this mean for pro-lifers from now until November 2024? Plain and simple: we have an all-out (spiritual, political, and cultural) battle ahead of us to protect babies and moms from a dangerous ballot initiative that threatens not only the health and safety of Nebraskans but also their very lives.
What Happened? Since August, several pro-abortion organizations have come together to form a ballot committee, in order to explore the idea of starting a ballot initiative. (A ballot initiative is when a citizen or group of citizens wants to initiate a process to put an idea to a vote of Nebraska voters, to turn that idea into either a state statute or a state constitutional amendment.) While the ballot committee has existed since August, it was unclear what their intentions were.
However, on Halloween, those intentions were made mostly apparent when pro-abortion extremists announced that they submitted proposed language to the Nebraska Secretary of State, Bob Evnen. Currently, at the time of writing this column, the ballot language proposal is confidential, and its contents are unknown, but in a moment we can make some educated guesses.
Who’s Behind It? The pro-abortion organizations behind this effort have named their ballot committee “Protect Our Rights.” This ballot committee consists of the usual suspects: Planned Parenthood, ACLU Nebraska, Women’s Fund of Omaha, Nebraska Appleseed, I Be Black Girl, Nebraska Civic Engagement Table, and Nebraska Abortion Resources. These organizations are vigilant at the Nebraska Legislature in their attempts to defeat pro-life legislation and advance radical abortion ideology and policies.
What Was Proposed? The specific contents of the ballot initiative proposal that was delivered to the Secretary of State is unknown to the general public. By no later than Nov. 15, we should know what the ballot proposal contains.
Based on what has been reported in the news and what we have seen in other states, we can make some educated guesses at what to expect. It has been reported that this misguided ballot committee plans to “put a constitutional amendment restoring abortion rights in Nebraska in the 2024 general election ballot.”
The constitutional amendment attempt could be anything from trying: 1) to enshrine full-blown access to abortions in the state constitution (basically a Nebraska Roe v. Wade standard); 2) to reinstate the 20-week fetal pain law; 3) to protect abortion up to the point of “fetal viability” or for any other “health or life” exceptions (basically a Nebraska Casey v. Planned Parenthood standard).
It’ll be no surprise if this ballot initiative effort is an attempt to legalize abortion up until birth in Nebraska, while destroying the people of Nebraska’s ability to establish reasonable health and safety protections against an unregulated abortion industry—and, for good measure, it’ll likely attempt to destroy parental rights in the process by allowing minors to access abortion without any sort of parental oversight or knowledge. And, as we’ve seen in other states, you can be sure pro-abortion advocates will lie and misinform the general public about their effort.
Why Are They Doing This? The simple reason is that they ardently believe in their cause for full-throttle abortion rights in Nebraska. We’ve come a long way from the days of President Bill Clinton touting abortions as “safe, legal, and rare.” We live in a world where pro-abortion advocates want everybody to “shout their abortion” as a badge of honor. And, as we witnessed this last legislative cycle, pro-abortion advocates will not rest until they manipulate their way to getting what they want: unfettered and unregulated abortions in Nebraska.
What’s Next? First off, the ballot committee needs to have their proposed ballot language reviewed and approved by the Secretary of State. This should happen no later than Nov. 15. Once their language is approved, it will immediately be made public. Also, at this point, “Protect Our Rights” will begin their signature-gathering process. Similar to what we experienced with the anti-school choice ballot referendum this summer, abortion extremists will need to collect 10% of registered voters signatures from across the state, with at least 5% of signatures coming from 38 different counties. In total, they’ll need around 122,000 signatures from across the state.
The signatures must be collected and presented at least four months before the 2024 general election, so around early July.
Safely assuming they’ll gather the requisite signatures and have them verified, the ballot initiative language will be on the ballot for voters to vote “for” or “against” in the November 2024 general election. Throughout all this time (petition signature-gathering phase and the months before the general election), there will be an out-and-out public relations campaign on display from both the pro-abortionists and the pro-lifers, trying to persuade the general public of their position. Expect millions—if not tens of millions—of dollars to be spent by both sides.
What Should You Do? First and foremost, and constantly, pray and fast. As we know in our heads but must live out through our hearts, this is a spiritual war, a battle for lives and souls. As our Lord reminds us, with certain evils, only prayer and fasting can drive them out. Pray that the pro-abortion extremists’ efforts are thwarted at every step of the way and that they utterly fail in their efforts.
Second, stay connected to the Nebraska Catholic Conference to be in the know about this effort. Join our advocacy network at www.NEcatholic.org by clicking on “Join Our Network.” We will be closely monitoring this effort, alongside our pro-life friends at Nebraska Family Alliance, Nebraska Right to Life, and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. This will be a critical time for pro-lifers to unite to defeat this effort, by the grace of God!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!