Nebraska senators advance gender-affirming health care, 12-week abortion bans

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Let Them Grow Act, which now includes a 12-week abortion ban, is heading to the final round of debate.

Nebraska senators voted 33-14 on Tuesday to advance Legislative Bill 574, which would ban gender-altering procedures for minors.

Just outside of the chambers, hundreds chanted things like “One more vote to save our lives” and “Kill this bill” loud enough to be heard during the debate.

“It’s coming down to one or two men who are scared,” Sen. Megan Hunt said. “You can have at least as much courage as the trans kids and their families out in the rotunda who have to live every day, who have to go to school and who – by the grace of God – get the courage to come to the state legislature and say it to you.”

Those in support of the bill and amendment also addressed the protestors.

“As we hear them chanting ‘One more vote to save our lives,’ I would agree with that statement,” said Sen. Kathleen Kauth, who introduced LB 574. “We have one vote to save the lives of children from a lifetime of pain and regret. These are surgeries and medications that are experimental; they’re irreversible. We owe it to kids to let them grow up so they can make these decisions as adults.”

Tuesday’s debate was supposed to be the final round for the bill, but thanks to an amendment filed by Sen. Ben Hansen, it was sent back to the second round.

Per the Legislature’s rules, amendments cannot be filed in the final round of debate.  Hansen’s amendment included a 12-week abortion ban.

Hansen filed the amendment after the Nebraska Heartbeat Act, which would have banned abortions at around six weeks, was killed in April.

Once the bill was returned to the second round, lawmakers voted 33-15 to adopt the amendment, then advanced the bill.

Tuesday’s proceedings were prolonged by procedural hurdles.

Debate on the bill was derailed early on as Sen. Justin Wayne moved to overrule the chair after his motion to send the bill back to committee was denied.

Senators then spent two hours debating that motion.

Sen. John Cavanaugh said Hansen’s amendment breaks the Nebraska Constitution, which says a bill can’t cover more than one subject.

But he was outvoted by others who said the two topics are intertwined.

“The title of the bill is Let Them Grow,” Sen. Julie Slama said. “If you look at the language of Sen. Hansen’s amendment and Sen. Kauth’s amendment, they both fall in line with the concept of letting them grow, whether they’re children born or preborn.”

And later, Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh was fired up as she got on the mic.

“Women will die. Children are dying. It is your faults. It is your faults!” she said. “You do literally have blood on your hands. And if you vote for this, you will have buckets and buckets of blood on your hands!”

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