Nebraska has a new senator for life from the state, someone who could help introduce legal protections for unborn babies as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
On Tuesday, Governor Pete Ricketts appointed Kathleen Kauth to fill the seat of late state senator Rich Pahls, who died of cancer this spring. She will represent the 31st legislative district in western Omaha.
Kauth, a pro-life Republican, could vote on legislation to protect unborn babies’ right to life once the Supreme Court overthrows Roe.
The Nebraska legislature narrowly passed an abortion ban in April, leaving them just two votes short of stopping the pro-abortion Democrats’ filibuster. Pahls was pro-life but did not vote because he was absent due to health problems.
Kauth promised to vote in favor of the bill during her swearing-in Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.
“I’m pro-life, and I thought the bill introduced recently was very solid,” she said, adding that she would be “honored” to support pro-life legislation.
Ricketts said he chose Kauth because of her solid pro-life views, telling reporters, “I’m always looking for pro-life candidates.”
One more vote in the legislature would mean Nebraska could pass a bill to ban abortions and save the lives of thousands of unborn babies. And there is a Democratic legislator who can be that voice.
Here’s more from the AP:
Another legislator, Democratic State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, is an important swing voice who could give [pro-life advocates] the last bit of support they need to pass it on.
Wayne was absent from the Legislative Chamber when lawmakers considered the ban in April, and he has declined to say whether he would support it or oppose it. An assistant told me on Tuesday Wayne would not be available for comment.
The Human Life Protection Act (Bill 933), sponsored by state Senators Joni Albrecht and Mike Flood, would ban abortions in Nebraska once the Supreme Court overthrows Roe and allows states to protect unborn babies again. The bill allows for exceptions if the mother’s life is at stake.
“We’re not going to kill any more babies in Nebraska. We’re going to take care of them,” Albrecht said in April before the bill failed. “No one should have the right to kill an unborn child with no voice.”
According to state health statistics, 2,378 abortions were performed in Nebraska in 2021.
Ricketts said he could convene a special session this summer to pass pro-life legislation if Roe is overturned, according to the report.
The Guttmacher Institute estimates 26 states are “certain or likely to ban abortion” if the Supreme Court gets rid of Roe. Researchers estimate that abortions would fall by about 120,000 in the first year and possibly even more in the following years if the Supreme Court allows states to ban abortions again.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are also working on expanding support services for needy families through maternity centers, maternity homes, and even programs to help pregnant mothers in prison choose life for their babies.