“Nebraska is a pro-life state. I believe life begins at conception, and those are babies too,” Ricketts told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked if he thought the state should require a young girl who was raped to carry the pregnancy to term. “If Roe v. Wade, which is a horrible constitutional decision, gets overturned by the Supreme Court, which we’re hopeful of, here in Nebraska, we’re going to take further steps to protect those preborn babies.”
“Including in the case of rape or incest?” Bash asked. To which the governor replied: “They’re still babies, too. Yes.”
Ricketts said that in case Roe falls, “I will work with our speaker of the legislature to work on a special session and do more to protect preborn babies. We’ll have to wait and see what that decision is before we can take further steps, but that would certainly be my intention.”
The governor’s comments come as the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seems likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide. Earlier this month, a leaked draft opinion authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito indicated that the court was poised to reverse Roe in a case concerning a Mississippi abortion law that would ban abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The state’s unicameral legislature failed to advance a bill entitled the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act, which would have banned abortions without exceptions for rape and incest and would have created criminal penalties for physicians who violate the law. The measure would’ve gone into effect if the Supreme Court overruled Roe or if Congress were to enact a law giving states the authority to regulate abortion or if the Constitution were to be amended.
Republican state Sen. Joni Albrecht’s motion to end debate on the bill she introduced failed by a vote of 31-15, falling short of two votes needed. Lawmakers had debated the bill for about eight hours.
‘Nebraskans look to their own’
“At the end of the day, I think voters in individual states, and it’s certainly true here in Nebraska, they make their own decisions,” Ricketts told Bash. “You know, people outside the state can have an influence, but at the end of the day, Nebraskans look to their own and Nebraskans made a decision they wanted for their state.”
“As co-chair of the Republican Governors Association, we’ve been very clear that we support our incumbents. Brian Kemp is a great incumbent, he’s done a fantastic job in Georgia,” Ricketts said.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly reflect Ricketts’ comments on “preborn babies.”
This story has been updated with additional information and reaction.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.