Why Nebraska Conservatives Combine Abortion and Transhealth Care Ban

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) – Conservative lawmakers in Nebraska unite two of the most contentious proposals in parliament, one to limit abortion and one to ban gender-affirming care for women. We are embarking on an all-or-nothing gamble by proposing that minors.

The unconventional move follows conservatives’ failure by one vote last month to pass a bill banning abortions at about six weeks’ gestation. Conservatives now support efforts to amend the transgender health care bill, including limiting abortions to the 12th week of pregnancy.

The strategy has a vote set for Tuesday, which could result in conservatives winning both abortion and transhealth bans this year, or losing them both.

Here’s a look at the combined ban on transgender and ban on abortion proposals and how the debate and voting process around them is expected to play out this week.

How the Nebraska Legislature Works

Nebraska has the nation’s only unicameral, nonpartisan legislature and an unusual bill-passing process.

All bills introduced at the beginning of parliament are put to public hearings in public committees, which then decide whether to introduce a particular bill to the 49-member parliament.

A bill must pass through three rounds of deliberations before it can be passed. Non-controversial bills tend to go through this process. But the Nebraska legislature relies heavily on filibusters to block the disputed bill. Each round has a set amount of time allowed for debate: 8 hours for the first round, 4 hours for the second round, and 2 hours for the third round.

read more: State legislatures battle for reproductive and transgender rights

At the end of the allotted time, a vote is taken to end the discussion, called a clocher vote. A supermajority of 33 MPs is needed to end the debate. If the vote fails, the bill will be shelved for the rest of the session. If enough votes are received to end the debate, only a simple majority is required to advance to the next round or pass in the final round.

Although officially nonpartisan, lawmakers identify themselves as Republicans, Democrats, or independents and tend to propose and vote on bills aligned with their party.

Republicans currently hold 32 seats, while Democrats hold 16 seats, one of whom is a progressive independent who votes for the Democratic Party. With such close margins, the departure of a single member from either side could derail efforts to pass or block a bill.

what will happen on tuesday?

Later in the afternoon, lawmakers are due to begin what was supposed to be the final round of deliberations on a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. But legislative provisions do not allow amendments in the final round, so lawmakers instead spent two hours deciding whether to return the bill to the second round with the abortion amendments. will be discussed.

If the motion ends the debate with at least 33 votes, the consolidated bill is certain to get enough votes to resume its second round on Tuesday night. The consolidated bill will have to survive another filibuster vote to advance to the final round, which is likely to be held on Thursday.

But if the first vote to end Tuesday’s debate fails, both the abortion amendment and the underlying transhealth ban bill will be shelved for the rest of the year, according to the secretary of the Congressional Secretariat. .

What are the two measures proposed?

The transhealth bill would ban hormone therapy, puberty inhibitors and gender reassignment surgery for people under the age of 18.

The bill last month promised to find a middle ground between supporters and opponents before the final vote by drafter and freshman Sen. Kathleen Cowse of Omaha and Congress Speaker John Arch. Based on the above, it proceeded to the final round of deliberations.

Instead, opponents of the bill argue that Kaus unilaterally submitted an amendment that would make an exception for minors who were already on hormone therapy before the ban went into effect. It would also give the state’s chief medical officer, now an otolaryngologist appointed by the Republican governor, broad powers to set rules for the use of hormone therapy for transgender minors. Opponents argue that this would give political appointees powers to prevent such treatment, even of minor grandparents.

clock: Idaho criminalizes helping minors travel out of state to get an abortion

The abortion amendment bans surgical abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest, and saving the mother’s life. Senator Ben Hansen, a chiropractor from Blair, characterized his proposal as a reboot of the compromise introduced by Republican Senator Merv Ripe during the abortion debate last month, but was initially conservative. Rejected by parliamentarians.

Opponents say Hansen’s bill differs from Lipe’s proposal in that it does not make exceptions for fatal fetal defects and does not explicitly protect abortion doctors from criminal prosecution.

How controversial is this action?

The transhealth bill is the most controversial bill in Congress right now, with Omaha Senator Makaela Kavanaugh saying even the bill she supports won’t stand before Congress unless conservative supporters withdraw the bill. He urged them to follow through on their promise to filibuster all bills. Her efforts have significantly delayed parliamentary activity this year, forcing lawmakers to endure grueling 12, sometimes 15-hour days to get legislation passed.

Omaha Senator Megan Hunt joined Kavanaugh’s efforts as the bill moved forward from its first round of debate in March, revealing during the debate that her 12-year-old son is transgender.

The proposed abortion restrictions, which states already limit abortions to 20 weeks’ gestation, have drawn fierce backlash from those who argue that restricting access further violates a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body. are there.

The six-week ban was derailed last month when Mr Liepe withheld a vote to end the filibuster over it. Liepe was an original co-signer of the bill, but later worried six weeks would not give women enough time to find out they were pregnant. Since then, he has been lauded by abortion rights advocates, but has also endured resignations and condemnation from Republicans.

“I’ve had quite a fever in the last few days,” said 80-year-old Lipe.

Liepe declined to say how she would vote on the 12-week abortion ban amendment.

Both the transhealth and abortion ban bills drew hundreds of protesters to the Capitol on the day they were debated, and thousands of protesters could converge in Lincoln on Tuesday when the combined bill is debated. has led to speculation that there is

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