By Tom Venzor
As of May 31, the Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die (a Latin term meaning without any further day of scheduled business). This marks the completion of the 106th Legislature, First Session.
The reactions to the final day were mixed.
For some, the time had come for the Legislature to complete its session. For these folks, the waning days of session culminate in heightened rancor during debate, and it is best for legislators to return to their districts, enjoy a breather, and re-immerse themselves in their usual lives—hopefully away from the day-to-day grind of politicking.
For others, the session ended too early. For these folks, the session ended on Day 84 of a 90-day session, leaving 6 working days to address the seemingly perennial questions of tax and school finance reforms, among other critical issues. They were unsatisfied returning to their districts without any semblance of reform to present their constituents.
Still for others, they just wanted to be done, regardless of whether the session could be chalked up as successful or unsuccessful. For these folks, the final day is the equivalent of school being out for the summer—it can’t ever come soon enough.
Regardless of one’s impressions of the final day, the day before sine die marked a moment of jubilation for the cause of life. On that day, LB209—the Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act—advanced through final round of debate on a vote of 36-12. The legislation was subsequently signed into law by Governor Ricketts June 6.
Like most other legislation, with the exception of bills signed into law with an emergency clause, LB209 will go into effect 3 months after legislative adjournment.
LB209 increases informed consent requirements for mothers seeking an abortion in the state of Nebraska, guaranteeing that women are provided with truthful and critical information prior to making the life-altering decision of abortion. LB209 will ensure that a mother who receives a so-called medication abortion—a two-dose regimen of abortion pills—is notified that the abortion pill process is not always successful and that, if she changes her mind, she can seek information to help reverse the abortion pill process. This provides each mother a second chance at choosing life for their unborn child.
With the abortion pill being the most utilized form of abortion in Nebraska, LB209 will ensure that thousands of mothers are told the truth about the abortion pill: there is a second chance at choice. Something that abortion doctors are not voluntarily disclosing to mothers. And, in fact, are intentionally obfuscating and misleading, by claiming that attempts at reversing an abortion will only lead to increased harms for the mother and fetal abnormalities or worse for the child.
In short, LB209 ensures that the truth will prevail. As always, it remains our task to pray that the truth finds a home in the heart of each mother and is courageously lived out in the decision to reverse the effects of the abortion pill. And it also remains our obligation to help out any such mothers and their children who are in need of material, financial, and spiritual support.
This major pro-life victory would not have been possible without the countless prayers of faithful Catholics across the state. As Saint Pope John Paul II stated in his tremendous encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life): “[A] great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world.” Through your prayers, God the Father heard our petitions and has granted us mercy through this legislation.
It also would not have been possible without the constant and consistent work of pro-life advocates across the state. As with other legislative bills, your voice had a major impact in getting this legislation across the finish line. It required every person who engaged in personal conversations, phone calls, letters, and e-mails to help secure the votes necessary to pass the bill, something which was never a guarantee until the final votes were tallied.
As we enter into the legislative interim, we are a bit like professional baseball players: we are now in spring training, gearing up for the next season. We will be working away to research new policies that build the common good and continuing to advocate for policies, like our scholarship tax credit bill, with the hopes of success in the session to come.
As always, thanks for everything you provided for our efforts this session.