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NEBRASKA (LifeSiteNews) – Six small towns in Nebraska will be voting this November on whether to effectively ban abortion in their jurisdictions, in hopes of building support for statewide action.
Nebraska Public Media reports that the towns of Arnold, Brady, Curtis, Hershey, Paxon, and Wallace all have ballot initiatives to empower citizens to sue anyone for committing an abortion within their jurisdiction, with some also extending to individuals who help facilitate abortions, such as by assisting with money or transportation.
The effort is fueled in large part by the volunteer work of Paxon-area Lutheran pastor Bill Forbes, who collects petition signatures, and Right to Life of East Texas director and preacher Mark Lee Dickson, who travels the country to build support for such measures.
The only abortion facility in an area of Nebraska where residents are gathering signatures for a local abortion ban is in the village of Bellevue, but supporters say they hope their efforts will send a message to the capital that support is growing for a statewide ban.
“We in the Panhandle get shoved around by eastern Nebraska,” Forbes said. “Changes that need to take place to protect our country won’t come from Washington, and they won’t come from Lincoln. Real changes are going to come down here where the grass grows.”
Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said in May he wanted to “take further steps to protect those preborn babies” if Roe v. Wade was ever overturned, which finally happened in June. A month before, the state legislature failed to pass a “trigger law” that would have automatically banned abortion upon Roe’s overturn.
Critics questioned whether the initiatives would be legally enforceable, but acknowledged that as a practical matter such laws create a “chilling effect” that will likely keep abortion from expanding into the towns in the future, which in turn will make it difficult for test cases that might have struck them down to reach the courts in the first place.
“This is an ordinance that’s meant to protect these communities and the culture of these communities,” Dickson said. “There are people that are wanting Nebraska to be more like Texas.”