Planned Parenthood, ACLU of Nebraska appealing ruling on abortion, minor trans care bill

Organizations argue LB-574 violates state law on single-subject legislation
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU officially announced that they're appealing LB 574, which restricts trans care for minors and abortion after 12 weeks.
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 2:55 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - As promised, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are appealing a district court’s decision that a single Nebraska bill banning trans health for minors and abortion at 12 weeks did not violate the state’s single-subject rule.

ACLU of Nebraska announced Friday that it was joining with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to appeal last week’s ruling from Lancaster County District Court Judge Lori A. Maret to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

“We will never stop fighting for the reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy, and health of our Nebraska communities. We are doubling down on that commitment with this appeal,” Ruth Richardson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in the Friday news release. “...Every person deserves the freedom to control their body, health, and future — and that right shouldn’t be determined by your zip code.”

Planned Parenthood said it will continue providing abortions within the 12-week legal limit and vowed to continue connecting other patients in Nebraska with resources for care if they choose to seek it elsewhere.

LB-574, passed by the Unicameral in May, has been a hot topic of discussion in Nebraska throughout the year.

Its main purpose is to ban gender-affirming care for minors — a bill that sparked weeks of filibustering led by State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh before the abortion ban was attached to it in May. That happened after LB-626 failed on a second-round vote in April.

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen was outspoken in support of the bill before it passed through lawmakers.

“I am grateful for the court’s thorough decision,” Pillen said after the district court’s decision. “I was proud to sign into law a measure that protects kids and defends the unborn, and I am pleased that it has been upheld. Thank you to the Attorney General and his litigation team for defending this important law.”

Pillen signed LB-574 into law on May 22, and it’s set to go into effect on Oct. 1.

“We are hopeful that the Nebraska Supreme Court honors the language in our state’s constitution that ‘no bill shall contain more than one subject,’” Mindy Rush Chipman, ACLU of Nebraska executive director, said in Friday’s release. We will continue to advocate for Nebraskans’ rights and do all we can to block both the abortion ban and the restriction on gender-affirming care for trans youth.”

The Nebraska Supreme Court considered the “single-subject rule” three years ago. In 2020, the state’s high court ruled that despite satisfying petition requirements to appear on the 2020 ballot, the medical marijuana ballot initiative was in violation of the Nebraska Constitution.