Bill restricting abortion, transgender care for minors passes in Nebraska Legislature
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Legislative Bill 574, which tightens restrictions on abortion and on gender-affirming care for minors in Nebraska, passed its final vote, 33-15, on the way to Governor Pillen’s desk for signature Friday afternoon.
This vote is the last hurdle after months of legislative fighting that included a late-round amendment to include a 12-week abortion ban as part of the bill limiting some gender-affirming care for minors. The bill was largely expected to pass after clearing the previous round by the same 33-14 vote Tuesday.
Under the new bill, abortions would be banned in Nebraska at 12 weeks gestational age, from the first day of the mother’s last period. Nebraska law currently bans abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. (https://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=28-3,106 ) According to data tracked by the state, 86% of abortions occur before 12-week gestational age. The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. It does not include any exceptions for fetal anomalies.
Those under 19 would be restricted from having genital or non-genital gender-altering surgeries, and there could be restrictions on puberty blockers and hormone therapies. The specifics of those restrictions would be determined by the state’s chief medical officer, who is appointed by the governor.
Governor Jim Pillen issued the following statement in response to state senators passing LB574:
Governor Jim Pillen said he plans to sign LB 574 into law, adding “Our kids are our future, and the advancement of LB574 is an important step in protecting that future. I applaud the senators who voted for LB574 and stood up for our commonsense, conservative values.”
Pillen hasn’t yet said when he will sign it.
The bill does have an emergency clause attached. The new bans on abortions will go into effect as soon as the governor signs the bill. The bans and limits on transgender care will go into effect on October 1, 2023.
On Twitter, Jane Kleeb released the following Nebraska Democratic Party statement:
Security was increased at the Capitol Friday as supporters and opponents of the bill showed up in large numbers in the rotunda. At one point during testimony from Senator Kathleen Kauth, the bill’s sponsor, spectators in one side of the balcony started shouting and throwing paper towards Kauth, causing testimony to be paused while the gallery was cleared. Loud protests could be heard from the rotunda throughout much of the debate.
Speaker John Arch and Senators Briese, Conrad, and Vargas circulated a letter early in the day encouraging decorum in the gallery and asking senators to “lead by example and help foster and environment of robust debate, peaceful free expression, and safety for all stakeholders”. A similar memo from the Clerk of the Legislature signed by dozens of Senators noted “LB574 is a significant piece of legislation that evokes deep emotional responses. Internally, appropriate decorum has been stressed for all members and staff. We encourage safe, respectful participation in the legislative process.”
Nebraska is just one of the latest states to implement increased laws surrounding abortion and medical treatment for transgender kids.
According to the New York Times, as of May 18th, 14 states have near total abortion bans in effect. This includes Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama. Georgia has implemented a six-week abortion ban. Utah, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida have bans on abortions at 15, 18 or 20 weeks. Several other states, including Iowa, have tried to implement stricter bans, but they’ve been blocked by judges. (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html)
A website tracking anti-transgender legislation reports that more than 500 bills related to transgender people have been introduced in 49 states. 71 bills have passed. Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia also have passed legislation limiting gender affirming and altering healthcare for transgender kids. (https://translegislation.com/bills/2023/passed) (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2023-03-30/what-is-gender-affirming-care-and-which-states-have-restricted-it-in-2023)
Copyright 2023 KOLN. All rights reserved.