A bill that would ban minors in Nebraska from obtaining puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender-altering surgeries advanced Thursday from second round debate in the Legislature on a 33-16 vote.
It now heads to the final round of debate before being sent to the desk of Governor Jim Pillen to be signed.
Bill sponsor and Omaha Senator Kathleen Kauth says it’s about protecting kids who experience gender dysphoria and taking action they can’t reverse.
“The brain does not stop growing until the mid 20s,” Kauth said. “In Nebraska, you’re considered an adult at age 19. We do not treat children the same as we treat adults.”
On Thursday, Kauth voted down her own amendment, which would have limited the bill to banning only gender-affirming surgical procedures. Kauth says she’s working on a new amendment, but as of now, LB 574 still would ban hormone therapy and puberty blockers for minors as well as those surgeries.
Opponents, like Omaha Senator Megan Hunt, called out Kauth and other senators that by voting for the bill, they are not sending a message they care about kids transitioning but are rejecting them.
“You literally don’t know what you are talking about,” Hunt rebutted. “Suicidality is reduced by accepting and affirming kids. By accepting kids for who they are.”
Opponents also say LB 574 would take parental rights away from consent with doctors for their kids to undergo treatment.