Nebraska Democratic State Senator Switches Parties After Being Punished for Voting Pro-Life

(Oregon Right to Life) — A Democratic Nebraska state senator opted to switch political parties last week after his colleagues punished him for voting pro-life and pro-family.

“Today, I am announcing I am now going to be a registered Republican in the state of Nebraska,” Sen. Mike McDonnell, who has served in the Nebraska legislature since his election in 2016, announced in a Wednesday press conference.

“Being a Christian, a member of the Roman Catholic Church and pro-life is more important to me than being a registered Democrat,” he said.

McDonnell recently provided a crucial vote helping the Republican-led legislature pass a bill to protect the unborn by limiting abortion after 12 weeks gestation. The bill also included restrictions on transgender surgeries for minors. Less than a year later, the Douglas County Democratic Party withdrew his voting rights, and the Nebraska Democratic Party voted to censure him.

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The senator, who has consistently opposed abortion despite having been a registered Democrat since 1984, explained that he decided to leave his life-long political party due to the treatment he received from his colleagues.

“I asked the Democratic Party of Douglas County to respect that I’m pro-life: that I’m a member of the Roman Catholic Church and my beliefs are based on that,” McDonnell said. “Douglas County Democrats, instead of respecting it, they decided to punish it.” 

McDonnell’s refusal to toe the party line on abortion led him to register as a Republican for the first time in his 40 years as a registered voter.

In a statement, Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb said that the move to “censure Sen. McDonnell was never about him being a pro-life Catholic” but was instead “based on our party reaffirming our core values to protect women’s ability to make health decisions and to keep politicians out of our personal health decisions.”

The Nebraska Democratic Party’s statement defining abortion access as a “core value” is far from an outlier. At the federal level, the Democratic National Committee holds “that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.” In contrast, the Republican National Committee affirms that the unborn have a fundamental right to life, the Pew Research Center pointed out.

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Meanwhile, Sen. McDonnell has already found a home among his new Republican colleagues.

​​The Nebraska Republican Party welcomed Sen. McDonnell to the fold in a Thursday statement, calling him “our newest champion of conservative values.”

“Sen. McDonnell was censured by the Nebraska Democratic Party in a monthslong push to hold him accountable for his votes to protect the unborn and place commonsense guidelines on gender-affirming care,” the statement read. 

Thanks to McDonnell’s decision to switch parties, Nebraska Republicans now enjoy a “filibuster-proof” two-thirds supermajority in the legislature, National Catholic Register noted. With McDonnell on their team, Republicans in the state are well-positioned to continue advancing conservative legislation, including measures to protect the unborn.

Current Nebraska law protects the unborn after 12 weeks gestation except in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency.

Oregon Right to Life believes in the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. Abortion ends the life of a genetically distinct, growing human being. We oppose abortion at any point of gestation. Read this and all of our position statements by clicking here.

Photo Credit: KMTV 3 News Now/Screenshot


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