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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Survey: Nearly 60% of Nebraskans Oppose Abortion Bill in Legislature

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Thursday, March 2, 2023   

Nebraska would have one of the strictest abortion laws in the country should Legislative Bill 626 become law. It recently passed out of committee.

The bill calls for banning abortions after a "fetal heartbeat" can be detected by ultrasound, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. However, some medical experts don't consider it a "fetal heartbeat" before at least the tenth week of gestation, the point at which an embryo becomes a fetus.

Scout Richters, senior legal and policy counsel for the ACLU of Nebraska, said time is running short for Nebraskans to let their state senators know how they feel about the bill.

"Because it has that emergency clause, if it does pass, it will become law here in Nebraska, and it could be in just a few short weeks," Richters pointed out.

Richters noted in a November survey, 59% of Nebraskans from all backgrounds and across party lines said they oppose a more restrictive abortion law, with 36% supporting one.

Sen. Joni Albrecht, R-Thurston, introduced the measure, which includes exceptions for sexual assault, incest or medical emergency. A stricter abortion bill she co-sponsored last year did not pass.

Abortion bans have been hot-button issues in many states. In seven of the eight states with a ban at 12 weeks or earlier a judge has blocked it at least temporarily, including four six-week bans.

Richters emphasized medical providers from across the state were among the many who spoke during the committee hearings on the bill.

"The negative effects of this ban reverberate across the medical field, as we've seen from the number and variety of medical professionals that have spoken out in opposition to the ban," Richters observed.

She predicted there will be several rounds of floor debate and expects a number of Nebraskans will attend. She added for those who wish to speak directly with their state senators on those days, the ACLU of Nebraska will be there to help. Once the debates are on the agenda, they'll be posted on the Nebraska Legislature's website, and no doubt on the websites and social media channels of groups on all sides of the debate.

Disclosure: The ACLU of Nebraska contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Criminal Justice, Immigrant Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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