Democratic Nebraska senator makes furious protest over trans care ban for minors
Nebraska state lawmakers on Friday passed a bill that bans transgender medical care for minors, over the furious objections of demonstrators and a Democratic lawmaker who chanted in protest on the floor of the chamber
During her allotted speaking time on the floor, State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh repeatedly shouted in protest: ‘Transgender people belong here, we need trans people, we love trans people.’
In March, Cavanaugh embarked on an epic three-week filibuster to oppose the bill on gender-affirming care, winning her national media attention and a coveted profile in Vogue, but also drawing criticism that she was blocking all legislative business in Nebraska.
In her remarks on Friday, Cavanaugh vowed that she would not give up her fight on behalf of transgender constituents, saying: ‘You matter. You matter and I am fighting for you. I will not stop.
The measure that passed bans ‘gender-altering surgery’ and places restrictions on hormone therapy for transgender people under 19, as well as banning abortions after 12 weeks of gestational age, after the two issues were combined in a single bill.
Nebraska state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh protested the bill banning trans procedures for minors. saying: ‘Transgender people belong here, we need trans people, we love trans people.’
Protesters gathered Friday to oppose LB574, which limits gender-affirming care for trans youth and bans abortions after 12 weeks of gestation.
Friday’s debate was briefly halted when protesters in a chamber balcony stood and yelled obscenities at conservative lawmakers while throwing what appeared to be bloody tampons onto the floor.
The Nebraska State Patrol cleared both balconies and said at least six people were arrested.
Authorities confirmed that a state trooper was assaulted during the incident after a woman punched him in the chest when he prevented her from pushing past him.
As lawmakers began voting, hundreds of protesters packed into the Capitol rotunda shouted, ‘Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! just outside the chamber.
Hundreds of businesses and medical professionals signed letters warning that both the abortion ban and the trans health restrictions would prompt corporations and doctors to leave the state.
A letter submitted Friday and signed by more than 1,200 Nebraska medical professionals called the bill “a direct attack on the medical community of our state.”
Senator Kathleen Kauth, who authored the trans health measure, has repeatedly referred to an increase of children who identify as transgender as ‘a social contagion.’
She said the measure is aimed at protecting children from doing something they might later regret.
‘It doesn’t mean by any stretch of the imagination that we hate them,’ she said. ‘Quite to the contrary: We love them.’
Benjamin Buras, 40, and Sara Crawford, 33, (circled) were both arrested in connection to the incident involving the trooper.
Footage on social media shows police clashing with other protesters outside the chamber whose chants of ‘Shame, shame!’ could be heard by voting lawmakers
Conservative lawmakers called in a visibly ill colleague so they would have enough votes to end a filibuster and pass a bill with both measures.
Nebraska’s single-house legislature, dominated by Republicans, voted 33-15 to pass the bill, known as LB 574. Republican Governor Jim Pillen, who pushed for the bill, has promised to sign it into law.
Nebraska’s 12-week abortion ban includes exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.
Opponents of the measure unsuccessfully sought an exception for fatal fetal anomalies and to explicitly protect doctors from criminal charges for performing a contested abortion.
The bill also would prevent transgender people under 19 from receiving any gender-confirming surgery. In Nebraska, people younger than 19 are considered minors.
It would also restrict the use of hormone treatments and puberty blockers in minors, putting the state’s chief medical officer – a political appointee who is an ear, nose and throat doctor – in charge of setting the rules for those therapies.
The Nebraska Legislature voted 33-14 to end debate on a bill that bans abortion at 12 weeks and gender-affirming care for minors.
Abortion and gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender youth are at the heart of the so-called culture war raging in American politics, with Republican-dominated legislatures across the country banning or putting sharp restrictions on both.
Republicans have introduced more than 500 bills affecting LGBTQ people in 2023, with at least 49 passing, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ rights group.
North Carolina also passed a 12-week abortion ban this week, among a slew of restrictions enacted in states after the US Supreme Court last year struck down the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established a nationwide right to abortion.
Fourteen US states now have near-total bans on abortion at any point in a pregnancy.