Controversial abortion/transgender bill inches closer to Pillen's desk
Without a vote to spare, two highly controversial issues, a new abortion ban and moves limiting transgender health care for those under 19, inched ever closer to the finish line tonight following a nearly 7-hour legislative food fight.
At one point during ;the floor battle, opponents of the bill who were standing outside the chamber were chanting so loudly, that lawmakers had trouble hearing their own debate.
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Welcome to the latest chapter of Nebraska’s politically charged battle over abortion and transgender health care, both wrapped in a single incredibly controversial bill.
On abortion, a hard fought six-week ban has been replaced by 12 weeks, though critics argue it’s really ten weeks.
Regardless of the timetable, the key vote to further restrict abortions coming from Ralston State Sen. Merv Riepe, a pro-life Republican, who had single-handedly stopped the six-week ban, arguing his voters found it too extreme.
As for the transgender portion of the bill, State Sen. Kathleen Kauth continued to make her case that the legislation is protecting children, while State Sen. Megan Hunt pushes back against moves outlawing sex-altering surgeries for those under 19, and allowing drug treatment for minors but only if approved by the state’s chief medical officer.
The bill is expected to return to the floor for a final vote sometime over the next several days, when a final yes vote is more than likely. It would then head to Gov. Jim Pillen who late Tuesday night said he looks, "forward to signing the bill upon final passage."
That would leave critics a flurry of possible legal fights, including a claim that the two-headed bill is simply unconstitutional by arguably violating the state's "single-rule" provision.