Nebraska GOP Governor Says He Will Call Special Session To Enact Total Abortion Ban If Roe Is Overturned

“Nebraska is a pro-life state. I believe life begins at conception,” Ricketts told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “If Roe v. Wade, which is a terrible constitutional decision, is overturned by the Supreme Court, which we hope, here in Nebraska, we will take further steps to protect those unborn babies.”

“Even with rape or incest?” asked Bass. To which the governor replied, “They’re babies too. Yes.”

Ricketts said that if Roe falls, “I will work with our Speaker of the Legislature to work on a special session and do more to protect preborn babies. We’ll have to wait and see what that decision is before taking further steps.” but that would certainly be my intention.”

The governor’s comments come as the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is likely to quash Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide. Earlier this month, a leaked draft opinion from Conservative Judge Samuel Alito indicated that the court was ready to reverse Roe’s participation in a case involving an abortion law in Mississippi that would ban abortion at 15 weeks gestation.

More than a dozen states have so-called trigger laws on their books, meaning abortion will be banned almost immediately if Roe v. Wade is no longer in effect, and Nebraska nearly passed its own such law last month.

The state’s unicameral legislature failed to pass a bill called the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act, which would have banned abortions with no exceptions for rape and incest and would have resulted in criminal penalties for doctors who break the law. The measure would have come into effect if the Supreme Court rejected Roe or if Congress passed a law giving states the power to regulate abortion or if the constitution were changed.

The motion of Republican state Sen. Joni Albrecht to end debate on the bill she introduced failed by 31-15 votes, requiring no more than two votes. Lawmakers had debated the bill for about eight hours.

‘Nebrascans look to their own’

Ricketts, who is serving a term as governor, also weighed in on last week’s Republican primary in the race to succeed him, a contest in which his pick beat the pick of former President Donald Trump.
Ricketts backed Jim Pillen, a member of the University of Nebraska’s Board of Regents, while Trump backed businessman Charles Herbster, who faces allegations of sexual misconduct by eight women. Herbster has denied the allegations.

“Ultimately, I think voters in individual states, and it’s certainly true here in Nebraska, make their own decisions,” Ricketts told Bash. “You know, people out of state can have influence, but in the end the Nebraskans look to their own country and the Nebraskans made a decision that they wanted for their state.”

Ricketts plans to travel to Georgia this week to campaign on behalf of GOP government Brian Kemp, who faces a primary challenge from former US Senator David Perdue. Trump has endorsed and strongly supported Perdue in a bid to get Kemp back for refusing to help him undo his 2020 defeat.

“As co-chairs of the Republican Governors Association, we’ve been very clear that we support our incumbent leaders. Brian Kemp is a great incumbent, he’s done a fantastic job in Georgia,” Ricketts said.

Trump vice president Mike Pence is also expected to campaign for Kemp ahead of the May 24 primary.

This story has been updated with additional information and response.

Veronica Stracqualursi and Chandelis Duster of CNN contributed to this report.

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