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Nebraska‘s Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Sunday that he would call a special session of the Cornhusker State’s Legislature if the Supreme Court reverses the key abortion precedent Roe v. Wade (1973), a move hinted at by a leaked draft opinion earlier this month.
“Nebraska is a pro-life state,” Ricketts said Sunday. “I believe life begins at conception. And those are babies, too.”
“So, if Roe vs. Wade, which was a horrible constitutional decision, gets overturned by the Supreme Court, which we’re hopeful of, here in Nebraska, we’re going to take further steps to protect those pre-born babies,” the governor added.
If the Court overturns Roe, Ricketts told CNN he will “work with our speaker of the legislature to work on a special session and do more to protect pre-born babies.” He further said his abortion bill would not include exceptions for rape or incest.
Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., also pledged to call a special session of her state’s Legislature should the Court reverse Roe.
“If this report is true and Roe v. Wade is overturned, I will immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota,” Noem announced on Twitter May 2.
Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said he would direct Attorney General Dave Yost to appeal a U.S. district court’s nearly three-year-old stay on the state’s heartbeat bill, which the Buckeye State‘s Legislature passed in 2019.
Meanwhile, Indiana Republican lawmakers have sent a letter asking Gov. Eric Holcomb, R-Ind., to call a special session of the Legislature should the Court reverse Roe.
The joint letter, which has 100 signatures between the Indiana House and Senate, requests that Holcomb call for a special session “at the earliest date practicable” should SCOTUS “expand Indiana’s ability to protect unborn children” via its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“Providing a voice for those that have not yet been able to speak for themselves is a responsibility that we do not take lightly, and this is exactly why this request is so important,” the letter states.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed that Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in the Dobbs case was genuine – although the draft dates back to February, and it does not represent the current or final opinion of the court. In the draft, Alito strikes down Roe v. Wade, which struck down state laws across the country, and allows states to again make their own laws on abortion.
States with Democratic legislatures have passed laws codifying abortion in case Roe gets overturned. Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo., signed a law creating a “fundamental right” to abortion and denying any right for the unborn. In 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., signed a law codifying abortion rights and explicitly removing protections from unborn infants. The Connecticut legislature has passed a bill aimed at combating abortion restrictions in other states.
Meanwhile, states with Republican legislatures have passed laws restricting abortion, with Texas and Idaho passing laws allowing private citizens to file civil suits against individuals who aid or abet abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, at about 6 weeks of pregnancy.
While many polls suggest Americans support Roe, in-depth polling reveals a more complicated picture. When asked about their opinion on abortion during specific periods of pregnancy and other situations, 71% of Americans say they support restricting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy (22%), or in other limited circumstances such as rape and incest (28%), to save the life of the mother (9%) or not at all (12%). Only 17% of Americans said abortion should be available during an entire pregnancy and 12% said it should be restricted to the first six months.