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Nebraska lawmaker tries to rekindle effort to further restrict abortion

<i>Rebecca S. Gratz for The Washington Post/Getty Images</i><br/>Republican state Sen. Merv Riepe
The Washington Post via Getty Im
Rebecca S. Gratz for The Washington Post/Getty Images
Republican state Sen. Merv Riepe

By Tina Burnside and Shawna Mizelle, CNN

A Nebraska Republican lawmaker has introduced an amendment to ban some abortions nearly two weeks after efforts to severely restrict abortion failed in the state.

State Sen. Ben Hansen introduced the amendment earlier this week to a bill that would ban all gender-altering procedures for individuals under the age of 19, also known as the “Let Them Grow Act.”

Hansen’s amendment, which seeks to ban abortions after 12 weeks, includes exceptions in cases of sexual assault, incest and medical emergencies.

Under the state’s constitution, legislation proposed in Nebraska is required to be limited to a single topic.

But supporters argued that since both issues were related to medical procedures, the proposed legislation didn’t break the single subject rule and could pass, CNN affiliate KOLN reported.

Democratic state Sen. George Dungan disagreed, telling KOLN, “The only two things that I see that these bills have in common is the government standing between a doctor and patients, and I oppose that in pretty much every concept.”

Hansen told CNN that the amendment was based on a compromise after the previous abortion legislation stalled in the legislature.

“It definitely has the possibility of gaining more support, and so far it’s indicated that already. We feel pretty confident in the process that we have an ability to kind of get this through,” Hansen said.

“A ban is a ban, plain and simple. Whether it be a ban on gender-affirming care, or a ban on abortion. The goal is to take away people’s power over their lives and their futures,” Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska said in a tweet.

Last month, LB626, or “The Heartbeat Act,” which would have banned most abortions after six weeks, stalled in the legislature after a vote to overcome a filibuster failed to reach a two-thirds majority. Republican state Sen. Merv Riepe, a cosigner to the bill, had proposed an amendment to move the ban to 12 weeks instead of six weeks, but his amendment did not receive a vote.

Nebraska law currently prohibits most abortions starting at 20 weeks.

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, a Republican, said he was “profoundly disappointed” in the failed vote and called for the bill to be reconsidered.

During a session earlier this week on the House floor, state Sen. Megan Hunt said lawmakers were attempting “a do over” of “The Heartbeat Act” bill.

“You all had your chance to vote for Sen. Merv Riepe’s amendment for 12 weeks. If you had, you’d have your little abortion ban and you missed the window,” Hunt said.

The continuous efforts to restrict abortion in the Cornhusker State underscore the ongoing statewide battles over abortion rights that have taken shape since federal protections were removed with the reversal of Roe v. Wade last summer.

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