A Nebraska bill considered Wednesday would put an age restriction on cross-sex medical treatment, such as puberty blockers, hormone treatment and certain surgical procedures.
LB 574, introduced by Sen. Kathleen Kauth, R-District 31, received public testimony well into the evening.
“As adults, we understand that a child’s brain is not fully formed and cannot comprehend the ramifications of making irreversible medical decisions,” Kauth said, according to a local report.
Luka Hein, who regrets having a sex-change operation, testified in support of the bill.
“I was just a teenager who needed actual help not surgery,” Hein said. “I needed the chance to grow up safe and whole but it was taken away from me in the name of gender-affirming care.”
The bill, titled the “Let Them Grow Act,” prohibit doctors from prescribing drugs and performing procedures that alter gender, also allowing former patients like Hein to sue.
Hundreds of opponents and supporters packed the halls of the state capitol building while a coordinated protest took place outside.
Opponents of the bill cited studies showing so-called gender-affirming care lowered rates of suicide among teens. Others predicted that families of transgender teens would abandon the state for friendlier locations if LB 574 became law.
Representatives of various medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association testified against the bill.
But several supporters argued that none of these organizations are involved in direct patient care, and essentially function as “trade organizations” seeking to protect a very profitable medical discipline from unwanted interference.
Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, director of the Center for Family Studies in Washington, D.C., noted there is only one pathway for treatment – gender-altering drug therapies, surgeries, and counseling – the most profitable of options for clinicians and hospitals.
“My profession has gone off the rails,” Bauwens said.
The hearing concluded without a vote on the bill.