Nebraska lawmakers hear from hundreds about gender-affirming health care

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Hundreds of Nebraskans went to the State Capitol on Wednesday to testify on the controversial Let Them Grow Act.

LB 574 was introduced by Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha.

It would prohibit anyone under 19 years old from having gender-affirming health care.

Physicians, parents and those who have transitioned testified on both sides of the bill.

“The truth is that medical transition is experimental, it’s dangerous, and it doesn’t cure anything,” said Scott Newgent, who underwent transitional procedures.

Supporters of the bill said children are too young to make irreversible medical decisions.

“Never before in history have so many young people been rushed to hormone blockers, chest binders, and double mastectomies as they are now,” said Mario Presents with Gays Against Groomers. “Children are not an experiment, nor will we allow them to become lifelong pharmaceutical dependents.”

But those in opposition said the decision is best left with families and doctors.

Isabella Manhart, who testified against the bill, said her younger brother is transgender.

She said that suicide attempts in transgender youth are high and that denying procedures would cause the numbers to increase even more.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that gender-affirming health care helps save lives,” Manhart said. “The fact that anyone could look at my baby brother and think he deserves anything less than the basic human right to access health care that supports his needs absolutely breaks my heart.”

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Supporters of the bill said the gender-affirming surgeries and drugs are too experimental.

They said giving families time to consider options is better in the long term.

“Instead of flooding children’s bodies with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and mutilating their bodies, let’s focus on providing better mental health care,” Tiffany Frost said.

Other supporters of the Let Them Grow Act said society presses trends and beliefs onto young kids, making them question their gender identity.

But Rachel Ogborn, a mother in opposition to the bill, testified about her own experience with her transgender daughter.

“If anyone is forcing anything upon her, it’s anyone who endorses this bill,” Ogborn said. “By denying her medical care, they would be forcing their ideals and their desires on my child. It’s not any legislator’s job to tell my children’s doctor that she can’t have health care.”

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