“Nebraska Legislator to Deliberate Linking Trans Youth Medical Ban with 12-Week Abortion Ban”

The Nebraska legislature is set to discuss a plan to add a 12-week abortion ban to a bill banning gender-affirmative care for transgender minors. This proposal has sparked controversy and is expected to be one of the most volatile debates of the session. The transhealth bill, which already underwent the first two of three rounds of debate, officially cannot be amended in the final round. However, lawmakers will debate whether to send the bill back for a second round to add amendments on abortion. A filibuster for the entire two-hour debate is expected.

Conservatives in the unique unicameral Congress will need a vote of 33 of 49 senators to end the debate before moving forward with plans to merge the two issues. If these bills fail, both abortion and transhealth measures will be shelved for the rest of the year. Opponents of the 12-week abortion ban say the amendment is an unprecedented attempt to put another face on a bill that the Speaker of Parliament has promised will not be reinstated this year.

The underlying transhealth bill would ban hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and gender reassignment surgery for those under 18. While the revised version would make an exception for minors who were already on hormone therapy before the ban went into effect, it would also require the state’s chief medical officer to use hormones for transgender minors and give them broad powers to set the rules of treatment.

Abortion and transgender regulation have become consistent goals for conservatives in the Nebraska state legislature this year. Filibuster efforts have significantly delayed parliamentary work, forcing lawmakers to endure grueling 12- to 15-hour days to get legislation passed.

If the plan to combine abortion and transhealth measures comes to fruition, lawmakers are expected to turn around Tuesday night and again discuss whether to send the combined bill to final consideration. If that happens, the final round will be held on Thursday and is expected to likely pass. Governor Jim Pillen, who was elected in November, said he would sign the amendment into law if it passed. The bill includes an emergency clause, which will go into effect as soon as the governor signs it.

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