Ballot effort to protect mothers, babies submits 205K signatures, despite time crunch

This November Nebraskans will have the opportunity to vote for constitutional protections for mothers and the infants in their wombs.

That seems to be the case, anyway, after supporters of a Protect Women & Children ballot initiative announced July 3 that they secured more than 205,000 signatures from all Nebraska counties – in an effort that began just 97 days earlier and involved more than 1,200 volunteers.

They need about 123,000 signatures, or 10% of registered voters, including 5% of registered voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

They began their drive in March after pro-abortion groups had announced months earlier – on Halloween – that they would seek a referendum to enshrine abortion as a constitutional right in the state.

The abortion supporters also announced on July 3 – the deadline for submitting the signatures to the Nebraska Secretary of State – that they had reached the needed amount of signatures.

With four more months to organize, they only gathered 2,000 more signatures than their opponents, according to the pro-abortion drive’s estimate.

The Secretary of State will now have to verify the signatures for both ballot initiatives.

Nebraska’s bishops and Catholics across the state have put their support behind the Protect Women & Children effort.

Earlier on July 3, another pro-life effort, called Choose Life Now, announced that it was unsuccessful in collecting enough signatures after launching in May. That group’s proposal would have had the state recognize infants in the womb as persons, with the same rights as children outside the womb. Organizers said they will continue their efforts after the November election.

The Protect Women & Children drive was organized by a group of medical professionals after pro-abortion groups began pushing for their ballot initiative.

The Protect Women & Children option would constitutionally protect babies in the womb during the second and third trimesters, as well as allow the Legislature to pass laws to further protect infants during the first trimester.

The measure would leave alone existing protections for women and babies from abortion.

The wording of proposed referendum: “Except when a woman seeks an abortion necessitated by a medical emergency or when the pregnancy results from sexual assault or incest, unborn children shall be protected from abortion in the second and third trimesters.”

Nebraska’s three bishops – Archbishop George J. Lucas, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln and Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt of Grand Island – have said the Protect Women & Children initiative is an imperfect but effective alternative to the intrinsically evil pro-abortion option.

Voters can morally support the incremental protections, they said. The proposal would not create any right to abortion in the Nebraska Constitution.

The pro-abortion plan, called Protect Our Rights, would wipe out 50 years of health and safety protections for mothers and babies and would allow teens to access abortion without their parents’ knowledge, according to Tom Venzor, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC). 

He has called the pro-abortion measure extreme, saying “every one of us will be needed” to stop it. 

Sandy Danek, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, has shared those concerns, saying months ago that the results would be devastating.

People need to commit to prayer and become informed to help push back, she said, because the language for the pro-abortion measure is vague and deceptive and will confuse voters.

The NCC has formed a 5 for Life Club that helps people start meaningful conversations to explain why the Protect the Right to Abortion petition would be bad for Nebraskans.




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