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San Francisco won't contract with businesses in Nebraska due to abortion laws; Ricketts calls move intolerant
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San Francisco won't contract with businesses in Nebraska due to abortion laws; Ricketts calls move intolerant

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Nebraska made it onto another business list this week, and this one put it among 22 states with which the city of San Francisco says it will no longer do business. 

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown announced the city will implement a travel and contract ban for 22 states with restrictive abortion laws, defined as laws that ban abortion before a fetus is viable to live outside the womb, including so-called fetal heartbeat laws. 

The city is also prohibited from entering into new contracts with companies headquartered in those states, said City Administrator Naomi Kelly. The restrictions will go into effect Jan. 1. 

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts responded, “Nebraska is a proudly pro-life state, and this demonstrates shocking intolerance by coastal elites that is divisive to our nation.”

It's hard to know how many businesses headquartered in Nebraska might want to do business with San Francisco, but major Nebraska corporation Kiewit Construction, Engineering and Mining Services, for example, has a number of divisions in California, including two northern California district locations. 

The ordinance, authored by Supervisor Brown, recognizes that other states benefit financially in tax revenue when City of San Francisco workers travel or do business there. 

Nebraska was one of the first states to pass a fetal pain law in 2010 that banned abortions at 20 weeks gestation and later. 

Since then, Nebraska abortion bills have been ones that more or less chip away at making it more complicated to get them, including bills regulating informed consent, public funding, insurance coverage, notification, mandatory counseling and wait times.

At least a couple of senators have talked about the possibility of trying to pass a "fetal heartbeat" bill, possibly next session. It would prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually in the sixth to eighth week of pregnancy.

Mayor Breed of San Francisco said in a news release that every day in this country women's reproductive rights are threatened, "and we have to fight back.

"By limiting travel and contracting with certain states, we are sending a clear message to states that disregard the right to abortion," Breed said.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued a statement Friday regarding the ban on Nebraska over its pro-life laws, calling it "childish" to try to shut down a big cultural debate.

“Progressive cancel culture is dumb," Sasse said. "Most Nebraskans, like a whole bunch of Californians, are pro-life and want to reflect our pro-science, pro-woman, pro-baby beliefs with common-sense laws."

Pro-lifers aren’t out to silence the other side, he said.

"We believe in persuasion. San Francisco progressives can throw a tantrum — Nebraskans will continue to act like grownups.”

But Emily Murase, director of the San Francisco Department of the Status of Women, encouraged businesses in banned states, if they want to continue to contract with the city of San Francisco, to stand up for reproductive rights and advocate for changes to their state laws.  

Breed acknowledged that San Francisco tax revenue alone may not be sufficient to encourage states to rethink their laws, but if other cities and states follow its lead, financial pressure might be enough to prompt policy changes. 

The city has a similar travel and contract ban for nine states that have discriminatory laws against LGBTQ people, and the state of California adopted a similar statewide travel ban. Nebraska is not on that list. 

The states besides Nebraska on the restrictive abortion ban list are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.

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