Republican Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen signed a bill that bans transgender surgeries on those 18 and younger in the Cornhusker State and bans most abortions at 12 weeks.
The signing makes Nebraska the 18th state to pass laws banning transgender procedures on children and follows a raucous week at the capitol building in Lincoln after several protesters were arrested during the legislature’s Friday session.
“Today is a historic day in the State of Nebraska. It is a day where we are standing up and protecting our kids so that they can have a better and brighter future,” Pillen said. “LB574 is the most significant win for social conservatives in a generation, and is part of what has been a historic legislative session with senators voting for policies that protect our kids, cut taxes, grow agriculture, and defend our Nebraska values.”
The bill, known as the “Let Them Grow Act,” passed 33-15 in the state legislature and comes after the failure by one vote of a bill that would have banned abortion at six weeks. The 12-week ban, similar to one that North Carolina Republicans enacted last week, was the first abortion ban passed in the state in 13 years.
Nebraska lawmakers joined other red states, including Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, in banning transgender surgeries for minors, such as mastectomies on girls who identify as boys.
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Missouri and Texas have also advanced similar measures that are likely to be signed into law later this year, while North and South Carolina lawmakers are looking at similar proposals.
“Every human being has a right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” said Nebraska Sen. Joni Albrecht. “I look forward to the day when every child is protected from conception from elective abortions in the State of Nebraska.”
The law, though not explicitly banning procedures such as giving children cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers, does give some power to the state’s chief medical officer, an appointee of the governor, to regulate them.
Rush Chipman, the director of the ACLU of Nebraska, claimed that the law would harm “vulnerable communities.”
“The governor’s decision to sign these sweeping restrictions into law betrays a total disregard for Nebraskans’ freedom, health and well-being,” he said. “Every option is on the table to undo these regressive measures, including seeking justice through the courts.”
Judges have blocked similar measures in Arkansas and Alabama, and President Biden’s Department of Justice has filed a suit against Tennessee for its law.
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