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A must-read: new ballot measure protecting babies

Last week, a second abortion-related ballot initiative proposal was released by a group called Protect Women & Children. The proposal provides protections for some preborn babies, and offers Nebraskans an alternative ballot proposal in contrast to the extreme abortion proposal that was released in November by pro-abortion special interest groups.

The language of this newly released proposal states: “Except when a woman seeks an abortion necessitated by a medical emergency or when the pregnancy results from sexual assault or incest, unborn children shall be protected from abortion in the second and third trimester.”

The three bishops of Nebraska—through the Nebraska Catholic Conference—stated it is morally permissible for Nebraskans to support this newly proposed initiative language. In reaching this conclusion, the bishops consulted reputable attorneys and moral theologians to help unpack the meaning of the language and its morality.

Regarding the legal meaning of the language, there was consensus among the lawyers:

> The proposal provides constitutional protection for preborn babies during the second and third trimester.

> The proposal does not create any right to abortion. It leaves protections for preborn babies in the first trimester and in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency to the Nebraska Legislature.

> The proposal does not affect Nebraska’s current pro-life law, which protects preborn babies at 12 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergency, and it leaves intact countless health and safety laws passed over the last 50 years to protect women and babies from abortion.

After consultation with moral theologians, the bishops further determined that a voter can support the proposal, under the following conditions:

> The voter must understand that all abortion must be opposed, and that direct abortion is never morally acceptable under any circumstances.

> The voter must view this proposal as an incremental step toward full protection of all human life from abortion, and not as a permanent compromise. Supporters must remain committed to the effort of recognizing the right to life of all preborn children.

> The voter must accept that the proposal does not create any right to abortion in the Nebraska Constitution. The Nebraska Legislature remains free to provide greater protection for human life.

> The voter must understand that this proposal is an imperfect alternative to the intrinsically evil pro-abortion ballot initiative proposal launched in November. That pro-abortion ballot initiative cannot be supported under any circumstance and must be rejected. To learn more about the problems with the pro-abortion ballot initiative, visit

In the coming months, Protect Women & Children will be gathering signatures to get on the ballot. Protect Women & Children will need to gather signatures from 10% of registered voters across the state, including 5% of registered voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

It is assumed that supporters of both the new alternative ballot initiative and the pro-abortion ballot initiative will spend the money needed to collect the signatures they need to get on the November 2024 ballot.

Because Nebraskans will be voting on two constitutional amendments on abortion and the protection of human life, it is critically important that we—as Catholics—take these next seven months seriously. We have a significant opportunity to bear the light of Christ in the public square about the dignity of human life. This is a real chance to be evangelists. People will want to hear each other’s thoughts about these ballot efforts, and Catholics will have a chance to charitably and winsomely witness to the Gospel of Life.

Recently, we provided materials on our website ( where you can learn more about the pro-abortion proposal to insert a right to late-pregnancy abortion in the Nebraska constitution. As I said last week, this proposal is dangerous, deceptive, and demeaning—and it must be stopped!

We are calling Catholics to step up in these four ways:

> Pray and fast for the defeat of this pro-abortion ballot effort.

> Start talking to three to five people per week about the pro-abortion ballot effort, and feel free to use the one-page materials on our website ( to help you in these conversations.

> Reach out to us ( to come and give a talk at your parish.

> Call us (402.477.7517) and let us know you want to volunteer in this effort as a pro-life advocate.

Our work is cut out for us, but as the Psalmist tells us: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

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