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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

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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