Nebraska further restricts healthcare for trans youth despite protests and medical advice

Protester holds up sign reading "trans kids deserve to grow up"

The state of Nebraska has introduced further restrictions on healthcare for trans youth in new emergency regulations.

A new bill, LB 574, went into effect on Sunday, 1 October, despite protests and concerns raised by families, doctors, lawmakers, and advocates.

LB 574 bans all transition-related surgeries for transgender people under the age of 19 and requires trans minors to undergo at least 40 hours of “gender-identity-focused” therapy that are “clinically neutral.”

This has raised alarm bells among transgender activists who fear this could be a form of non-affirming therapy.

After a diagnosis of “a long-lasting and intense pattern of gender nonconformity” before receiving any medical gender-affirming treatment.

protest in support of transgender minors.
Nebraska has passed new restrictions on trans healthcare. (Getty Images)

After meeting all of the above criteria, patients would then have to endure a seven-day waiting period before they can start their prescriptions so they have “enough time to weigh the risks and benefits of treatment.”

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Despite protests and serious concerns raised by families, medical professionals, and lawmakers, Republican Governor Jim Pillen approved the regulations, which will remain in effect while the department takes public comments and decides on more permanent regulations.

The state capital is set to hold a public hearing on the matter on 28 November.

This new bill was introduced alongside an equally controversial 12-week abortion ban.

Republican Governor Jim Pillen
Republican Governor Jim Pillen approved the regulations. (Getty Images)

Hundreds of advocates, doctors, and businesses signed a letter that warned against both bills, which were described as a “direct attack on the medical community of our state.

The letter, which earned over 1,200 signatures, included threats from medical professionals that they would leave the state if the bills were passed.

At the time of writing, at least 22 US states have enacted laws to restrict or outright ban gender-affirming care for minors – many of which are facing lawsuits as a result.

That’s despite all major medical groups including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending gender-affirming care to minors and warning that restricting access could threaten their health.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Nebraska State Capitol on Sunday to fight for their healthcare.

Speaking to KMTV, Grant Friedman of the ACLU of Nebraska said: “October 1st is not a happy day for our community.

“I’m so glad we’re all here to show and speak out to the fact it is the decision of doctors on their medical expertise and not of our legislators to decide what is medically necessary care.”

Another protester, Nathan Hé, commented: “To be very honest, I’m terrified. Petrified. But, at the same time, seeing what’s happening around here and seeing the amount of people showing up to support me, I’m also hopeful.”

Still, the bill was swiftly signed by Pillen on Sunday, who said at the signing ceremony that children and parents seeking gender-affirming care were being “duped.”

Reacting to the surprise bill passing, Nebraskan Senator Megan Hunt took to X (formerly Twitter), to condemn the move.

“These temporary emergency rules and regulations were drafted in secret, they put politicians in our doctors’ offices, and they put big government bureaucracy over parents rights, bodily autonomy, and medical privacy,” she wrote.

“I don’t trust politicians to make my medical decisions, and neither should you. I trust Nebraskans, their doctors, and the 30 major national and international medical associations, including the AMA and APA, that endorse gender-affirming care.”

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