Ralston senator files amendment to six-week abortion ban bill

A Ralston state senator says he's had a change of heart in proposing an amendment LB626.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 7:13 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A six-week abortion ban is what some would call a near-total abortion ban, since many women don’t know they’re pregnant by that point.

That’s something Sen. Marv Riepe of Ralston says he’s come to agree with since co-sponsoring LB626.

“I always reserve the right once you get more information and facts to come back and take a look at that,” he said.

Despite his co-sponsorship of the bill, which would ban abortion once cardiac activity is detected, Riepe introduced an amendment to tighten the state’s current ban from 20 weeks to 12.

“I don’t legislate morality,” he said. “I talked with some other senators. There are some other senators who are more favorable to the 12-week because a 6-week heartbeat can almost be a total ban.”

“I am opposed to Sen. Riepe’s amendment, but I am grateful to see him bring it forward because I think it injects a modicum of reasonableness into this debate, and it signals that the debate is far from over,” said Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln. “So filing this amendment today shows me there’s a great deal of division, even among pro-life legislatures, on the extreme nature of LB626.”

A Ralston state senator has introduced an amendment to an abortion bill working through the unicameral that would ban abortion at 12 weeks as opposed to 6.

It doesn’t seem that Riepe gave Sen. Joni Albrecht, the introducer of LB626, a heads-up before filing his amendment.

“After I dropped the bill this morning, I immediately talked to Sen. Albrecht, and told her what I had done and shared a copy of my amendment,” Riepe said. “She was disappointed.”

He says he wouldn’t name who or how many are supporting his amendment.

Last session, Sen. Albrecht’s bill to ban abortion failed by two votes. This time around it would take 33 votes to pass LB626. It’s still unclear which version will get the most support -- or if either will get enough votes to pass.