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Protecting the right to life

Protecting the right to life


The Cornhusker State is the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family. That’s not just something we say—it’s reflected in national data. On a per capita basis, Nebraska welcomes more babies into the world each year than almost any other state.

Over the years, Nebraska has worked to protect the sacredness of life from the moment it begins. Our pro-life culture is evident all across Nebraska. We see it in volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers. We see it in families who brave all kinds of weather to participate in pro-life walks and prayer vigils. We see it as we drive down our highways on pro-life billboards and license plates. We see it in the way Nebraskans treat one another with dignity and respect.

This month marks 48 years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in all 50 states. Tragically, millions of babies have died since Roe, and more than 800,000 unborn babies continue to be killed by abortions each year. Abortion on demand is a betrayal of our nation’s founding commitment to the self-evident truth that every human being is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable right to life.

In Nebraska, we are working to get back to our founding values. We are a pro-life state. We believe every life has dignity and deserves the opportunity to grow and flourish. That’s why Nebraska’s state law says that it is “the will of the people of the State of Nebraska and the members of the Legislature to provide protection for the life of the unborn child whenever possible.” And we have a long tradition of passing pro-life legislation.

In 1991, Sen. Bernice Labedz of Omaha, a Democrat, led the effort to enact a law requiring parental notification before a minor receives an abortion.

In 2002 and 2004, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, who was a senator at the time, helped create new laws making fetal homicide and fetal assault a crime.

In 2010, then-Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk successfully championed the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” making Nebraska the first state in the nation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.

In 2011, Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft further strengthened laws requiring parental consent before a minor receives an abortion.

During my time in office, we’ve continued to affirm the dignity of life through a variety of initiatives.

In 2017, Sen. Joni Albrecht championed the Compassionate Care for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act. Tragically, some unborn children are diagnosed with lethal fetal anomalies. The Compassionate Care Act ensures that doctors fully equip women with information on perinatal hospice care at the time of these difficult diagnoses. By doing so, patients and their families gain immediate awareness of resources and support services to help them cope with this heartbreaking challenge.

In 2018, the Legislature and I worked together to pass a pro-life budget, which ensured that state Title X funding did not fund abortion services, including abortion referrals, at any clinic in Nebraska.

In 2018, the Legislature approved LB 1040 to provide commemorative certificates to mothers who miscarry prior to the 20th week of pregnancy. This bill affirms the dignity of life and humanely acknowledges the loss that a mother undergoes through miscarriage.

In 2019, Sen. Albrecht of Thurston sponsored a bill to bolster the state’s informed consent protections. It requires doctors to direct women to information on how to reverse the abortion pill when the drug is prescribed.

Last year, we passed what is perhaps the biggest pro-life bill of the past decade. Senator Suzanne Geist sponsored LB 814 to end the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion in Nebraska, and I signed it into law in August.

Our fight against the injustice of abortion is ongoing. There are a number of ways you can be involved this month. First, I ask you to join me in praying for the end of abortion in the United States. For the second consecutive year, I am proclaiming a statewide day of prayer on Jan. 22, which is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Second, take part in the Nebraska Walk for Life on Jan. 16, 2021. It will begin at 10 a.m. on the north steps of the State Capitol. More information is available on the Nebraska Right to Life website. Third, consider volunteering your time or resources to help the expectant parents and young families in your community. Preparing to give birth and care for a young child is exciting but also daunting. Let’s rally around our moms and dads to provide them with a strong network of support on the journey of parenthood.

Protecting the dignity of life has been, is, and will remain a core value of what is means to be a Nebraskan. If you would like updates on the pro-life priorities in the Legislature in 2021, please write me at or call 402-471-2244. Throughout the session, I encourage you to stay in touch with your State Senator about pro-life legislation. You can find their contact information at Let’s boldly take action on behalf of the unborn to defend their God-given right to life.

Pete Ricketts is the governor of Nebraska.


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