(NewsReady.com) – On May 22, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen (R) signed LB574 into law. The hybrid legislation created a 12-week abortion ban and included a prohibition on gender-altering surgery and puberty blockers for children. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is now suing the state.
On May 30, the civil rights organization filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Dr. Sarah Traxler, a physician who provides abortion procedures. The lawsuit argues that the state violated its constitution by combining two bills on completely different subject matters in order to push them both through. The state has a constitutional requirement that bills must stick to the same topic.
The lawsuit states that the “single-subject rule” is meant to protect lawmakers from rolling multiple bills into one when they know they could not pass as stand-alone bills. In this case, the suit points out the Nebraska legislators weren’t able to pass a 6-week abortion ban after debating it. Another bill, one that prohibited gender-affirming care for people 19 years old and younger advanced. So, in May, lawmakers proposed an amendment banning abortion to the gender bill, which was approved and eventually passed.
According to the ACLU, the one-abject rule “promotes transparency in the legislative process and accountability by lawmakers.” That’s because when a bill passes that only deals with a single topic, it prevents members of Congress from excusing their vote by saying they didn’t know about something in it.
Mindy Rush Chipman, the executive director of the ACLU Nebraska, said the organization believes the “combination of those bans violated the clear text of [the] state’s constitution.” She went on to say that lawmakers don’t “get to pick and choose” the parts of the state constitution they’re going to adhere to when passing laws.
The lawsuit names the governor, attorney general, and high-level officials from the state’s health department.
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