Although the majority of lawmakers approved the bill in a 32-15 vote, they needed 33 of the 49 senators to vote for ending debate on the bill in order to bring it to a floor vote. Sen. Mike McDonnell, a Democrat, voted with Republicans to end debate, citing his pro-life views rooted in his Catholic faith. However, two lawmakers abstained from voting, including one Republican, Sen. Merv Riepe, which prevented the bill from advancing.
Riepe had proposed an amendment to change the cutoff from six weeks to 12 weeks, but his proposed amendment was not brought up for a vote.
Republican Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen urged lawmakers to reconsider the bill and asked Riepe to defend life.
“I am a staunch defender of life and supporter of the Nebraska Heartbeat Act,” Pillen said in a statement. “I am profoundly disappointed in the cloture vote today. It is unacceptable for senators to be present not voting on such a momentous vote. I call on Sen. Merv Riepe to make a motion to reconsider and stand by the commitments to life he has made in the past.”
A South Carolina bill that would have banned abortions at the point of conception failed to pass the Senate in a 22-21 vote after several Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the legislation.