The rancor exhibited on the floor of the Legislature Tuesday continued Wednesday morning as lawmakers gave first round consideration of LB814, which would ban so-called “dismemberment abortion” in Nebraska, except in an emergency.
A variety of motions were filed by opponents seeking to delay a vote on the measure, including a request for the Lt. Governor to be removed from presiding over the chamber.
Debate time was also an issue as discussion progressed on the motions, with Senator Patty Pansing-Brooks asking why this measure was so special. “Why does this get it’s own hallowed time, and if somebody brings up a motion, then, no problem. We’re going to hold the time,” said Pansing-Brooks. “So, let’s see… ‘We have the bill called, we have the cue set, but this is about abortion.’ So it’s special.”
Bill sponsor Suzanne Geist of Lincoln told opponents the bill needed to have a fair hearing, as it had support from both pro-life and pro-choice residents across the state. “This is not a partisan issue. It is in this body, but it’s not across our state,” said Geist. “We are talking about eliminating a procedure that is barbaric. We are not keeping women from getting a second-trimester abortion.”
A motion to override the chair failed, as did motions to reconsider and indefinitely postpone the measure, and supporters were able to successfully end debate with a cloture motion.
After three and a half hours, the measure received first round approval on a vote of 34 to 9.