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Bill Banning Abortion Procedure Advances Amid Nebraska Lawmaker Rancor Over Rules

Bill Banning Abortion Procedure Advances Amid Nebraska Lawmaker Rancor Over Rules
Bill Sponsor Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln (Photo Courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

The rancor exhibited on the floor of the Legislature Tuesday continued Wednesday morning as lawmakers gave first round consideration of LB814, which would ban so-called “dismemberment abortion” in Nebraska, except in an emergency.

A variety of motions were filed by opponents seeking to delay a vote on the measure, including a request for the Lt. Governor to be removed from presiding over the chamber.

Debate time was also an issue as discussion progressed on the motions, with Senator Patty Pansing-Brooks asking why this measure was so special. “Why does this get it’s own hallowed time, and if somebody brings up a motion, then, no problem. We’re going to hold the time,” said Pansing-Brooks. “So, let’s see… ‘We have the bill called, we have the cue set, but this is about abortion.’ So it’s special.”

Bill sponsor Suzanne Geist of Lincoln told opponents the bill needed to have a fair hearing,  as it had support from both pro-life and pro-choice residents across the state. “This is not a partisan issue. It is in this body, but it’s not across our state,” said Geist. “We are talking about eliminating a procedure that is barbaric. We are not keeping women from getting a second-trimester abortion.”

A motion to override the chair failed, as did motions to reconsider and indefinitely postpone the measure, and supporters were able to successfully end debate with a cloture motion.

After three and a half hours, the measure received first round approval on a vote of 34 to 9.

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