Last Friday, the Nebraska legislature passed a measure limiting abortion to the first 12 weeks and restricting transgender medical treatment to people under the age of 19, the Associated Press reported.
The battle was contentious both among lawmakers and the vocal opponents who swarmed the Capitol to protest. Faced with a filibuster blocking a vote, Republicans even called in a very sick colleague to ensure they would have enough votes to end it and pass the measure.
The 12-week abortion measure allows for exceptions for the life of the mother as well as rape and incest. Opponents also tried to include an exception for deadly fetal anomalies and a provision to protect doctors from facing criminal charges for violating the law, however, both failed to make it into the bill.
The bill will also ban transgender surgeries from being performed on patients under 19. In Nebraska, anyone under 19 is considered a minor. It will also bar the use of puberty blockers and hormone treatments on minors.
On Friday, debate in the legislature was briefly halted after the activists swarming the chamber balconies began throwing bloody tampons and hurling obscenities at lawmakers. Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol cleared both balconies, forcing the activists into the Capitol rotunda. When voting began, the activists stood outside shouting, “Shame! Shame!”
Troopers arrested at least six individuals, including one activist who was caught on surveillance footage punching one of the troopers during the melee.
On Monday, Nebraska’s Republican Governor Jim Pillen signed the bill into law. While the abortion restrictions take effect immediately, the ban on transgender procedures on minors will not take effect until October 1.
Opponents of the law have already vowed to sue to stop the measures from going into effect.
Mindy Rush Chipman, the head of the ACLU in Nebraska, said in a statement that the ACLU will use “every option” to fight the law. Rush Chipman blasted Governor Pillen for signing the measure, saying he revealed a “total disregard for Nebraskans’ freedom, health, and well-being.”