Nebraska Sen. Ricketts donates $500k to anti-abortion ballot campaign

A conservative effort to put an abortion ban on the Nebraska ballot has so far been fully funded by Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.).

Ricketts donated $500,000 in cash to women and children advocacy groups on March 26, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. The organization reported no other donations.

“Nebraska’s common sense abortion restrictions reflect our state’s strong lifestyle culture. I support the ‘Protect Women and Children’ ballot initiative because it protects Nebraska’s values ​​and This stands in stark contrast to the extreme initiatives being promoted by the abortion lobby,” Ricketts said in a statement to The Hill.

Ricketts, who served as governor from 2015 to 2023, has also funded other voting efforts. His family largely funded the successful push to reinstate the death penalty in Nebraska through a 2015 ballot initiative.

The proposed amendment aims to constitutionally ban abortions after the first trimester (approximately 12 weeks of pregnancy). This includes exceptions such as “medical emergencies,” sexual assault, and incest. Notably, there is no language in the amendment that would prevent conservative lawmakers from further tightening the ban if passed.

The state currently has a law banning abortions after 12 weeks, but it is not in the state constitution. There are exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of a pregnant patient.

The campaign is supported by anti-abortion groups such as Nebraska Right to Life and the Nebraska Family Alliance.

Organizers have until July 3 to collect the signatures needed to place the question on the November ballot. It requires just under 123,000 signatures from 10 percent of Nebraska voters and 5 percent of voters in at least 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

Nebraska voters could see competing ballot initiatives this fall.

Aside from the 12-week ban, the Second Amendment would enshrine in the Constitution protections for abortion up to the term of fetal life, which is usually around 23 or 24 weeks. It also includes exceptions for subsequent abortions if necessary to “protect the life or health of the pregnant patient.”

Protect Our Rights, which sponsors abortion protections, reported that it had raised $473,000 as of March 26.

“Nebraskas have the right to make decisions about pregnancy and abortion, not politicians.” It has been clear from the beginning that we will do everything we can to prevent this from happening, and this donation is proof of just that,” the group said in a statement to The Hill.

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