Citizen initiative petitioning for life in Nebraska as Kansas protects abortion

Citizens gather signatures in Arnold.
Citizens gather signatures in Arnold.(Courtesy)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:16 AM CDT
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ARNOLD, Neb. (KNOP) - In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that overturned Roe v Wade, people are now deciding state by state how they will address abortion in the future.

Mark Lee Dickson, Director with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities from the Unborn Initiative says to Nebraska, “Let’s do better than Kansas.”

In Kansas Tuesday, voters voted to reject a ballot measure that was the first of its kind in America after the June U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court declared that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the state’s Bill of Rights, preventing a ban and potentially thwarting legislative efforts to enact new restrictions. The measure Tuesday, if it had passed, would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortion in Kansas.

Kansas is alone thus far in making this type of statement collectively by voter turnout, however, this is the start of what could be a long-running series of legal battles playing out where lawmakers are more conservative on abortion than governors or state courts.


Kentucky will vote in November on whether to add language similar to Kansas’ to its state constitution. Vermont will decide in November whether to add an abortion rights provision to its constitution.


A similar question is likely headed to the November ballot in Michigan.


In Nebraska, petitions are being filed in several communities across the state.


In Arnold, Nebraska, Tuesday, petitioners announced they have enough signatures from the people of Arnold for a Citizen Initiative Petition to be checked for accuracy and submitted to the Village Board for a vote toward declaring Arnold a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.” If the board does not pass the measure, the measure will be placed on the ballot for the November General Election.

Again, the question at hand is, “Will Arnold adopt an ordinance to make Arnold a Sanctuary City for the Unborn?”


Citizen Initiative Petitions are being signed in several cities across Nebraska, including Kearney, Maxwell, Stapleton, Curtis, Gothenburg, Hershey, Sutherland, and Bellevue (the site of Dr. Carhart’s clinic, CARE, Clinics for Abortion & Reproductive Excellence).


In Bellevue where Nebraska abortions are being performed, the CARE website proclaims, “Specializing in 2nd and 3rd-trimester abortion care. We are one of the nation’s only clinics that provide abortion throughout pregnancy, meaning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-trimester abortion care.”

Dr. Pat Castle of Life Runners said of the effort in Bellevue, “We filed the Citizen Initiative Petition paperwork today to start collecting signatures in support of an ordinance outlawing abortion and declaring Bellevue, Nebraska a sanctuary city for unborn persons. If passed, late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart would no longer be allowed to injure mothers and kill unborn children.”

Dr. Pat Castle
Dr. Pat Castle(Courtesy)

Dr. Castle and other pro-life advocates are encouraging any Nebraska citizens interested in seeing abortion outlawed in their communities to sign the online petition at “From there, signers will be reached out to about starting the official petition in their cities,” said Dickson.

While the online petition is not an official petition that will get an ordinance on the ballot, supporters of the initiative shared that the online petition is a step toward an official, organized effort. “From there, signers will be reached out to about starting the official petition in their cities,” said Dickson.

Dickson further explained that the sanctuary cities for the unborn ordinances are custom-made for each municipality, and vary in language. The ordinances do not penalize the mother of the unborn child, nor do they ban abortions in circumstances regarding the life of the mother. The ordinances are clear that ectopic pregnancies or the removal of a dead child due to a miscarriage are not considered abortions. In a post-Roe world, Dickson expressed concern for abortion-inducing drugs which are making their way across America and “into our mailboxes.” One such concern Dickson shared is RU-486, the abortion pill by mail, or what some are now calling “Plan C.” Plan C allows the combination of two drugs and is promoted by abortion facilities and some doctors to help anyone of any age take the drugs and have a private abortion in their own home.

This, he says, is a danger to young girls who may get the drugs and have complications, or deep emotional pain by going through such a life-changing event alone, potentially not telling anyone. Dickson believes the long-term effect on the young woman may be devastating. Dickson continued, “This is why residents in communities throughout Nebraska are rising up. They are realizing that the current administration is going to do everything they can to protect and expand abortion access - even to the point where it is going to make small-town America extremely uncomfortable. The passage of these ordinances is citizens’ way of pushing back and making sure Biden’s dream of abortion access does not become a reality in their city, on their street, and in their mailbox.”

Online Petition


Here is a link to a story covering more on the vote in Kansas:


In Texas on Tuesday, the city council of Athens rejected citizens’ wishes to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion prompted by a similar citizen initiative petition as is being taken across Nebraska. The citizens of Athens will now see the ordinance outlawing abortion on the November ballot. Citizens in Abilene, San Angelo, and Plainview will also see similar ordinances on the same ballot. The Texas ordinances prompted by successful citizen initiatives go further than their state abortion ban, prohibiting abortion on residents of their cities regardless of what state the abortions are performed in.

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