The “Let Them Grow Up” bill draws many divided witnesses

LINCOLN, Neb. (COLOGNE) – Dozens of people lined the halls of the capitol building Wednesday afternoon to testify about what is being called “Let them grow up.”

The bill, LB 574, addresses controversial transgender issues.

It would ban sex-reassignment procedures for minors, a topic that has drawn strong emotions from people on both sides of the aisle.

State Sen. Kathleen Kaut, who introduced the bill, said it would protect children with gender dysphoria from harmful procedures.

“As adults, we understand that a child’s brain is not fully formed and cannot understand the consequences of making irreversible medical decisions,” Kaut said.

The bill would ban puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-reassignment procedures under the age of 19, and prohibit doctors from performing these illegal procedures or prescribing hormones or puberty blockers to anyone under 19.

Doctors who violate the law can be disciplined by state licensing boards, and parents or patients can take the doctor to civil court if they regret the procedure.

One witness, Luca Hein, regrets it.

“I was just a teenager who needed real help, not surgery,” Hein said. “I needed a chance to grow up safe and sound, but it was taken away from me in the name of gender-affirming care.”

Doctors against the bill said minors’ access to drugs such as reversible puberty blockers would help them make decisions about sex reassignment surgery.

Dr. Elizabeth Constance said: “It buys them and their family valuable time to make a decision about whether or not additional treatment is needed, without feeling rushed into the decision.”

Before Wednesday’s hearing, OutNebrsaka and the ACLU held a rally in the capitol rotunda in support of trans youth and access to gender-affirming care, with about 100 people in attendance.

Opponents say the decision about the procedure should be left to the patient, their parents and their doctors.

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