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Nebraska law restricting gender-affirming care days away from taking effect without specific rules in place

Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 29, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — At Pride Health Clinic in Omaha, about 5% of patients at the clinic specializing in gender care are 18 and younger, said owner Leslie Dvorak, APRN.

Those patients would be the ones impacted when the "Let Them Grow Act" goes into effect on Oct. 1. But Dvorak said she's found herself at times saying "I don't know" when the patients or their parents have questions.

The bill prohibits minors from beginning hormones and puberty blockers they haven't already been taking.

"Reading the bill and listening even to Dr. Tesmer, we don't have a lot of guidance about what to expect going forward," Dvorak said. "The bill is very vague."

Timothy Tesmer is Nebraska's chief medical officer. The law assigns him with crafting the specifics of when minors under 19 can be prescribed puberty blockers and sex hormones. But those specifics are not in place.

Patients have asked Dvorak "What if, in a year, I do decide I want to do hormones, but I'm still under 19?" she said. "I said, 'I don't know what the information is.'"

The delay is also frustrating to state senators opposed to the bill, to begin with, like John Fredrickson of Omaha.

"It's incredibly disappointing to get this close to the deadline and to not be given any sense of what that's going to look like for these families," Fredrickson said. "It's keeping them in anguish, frankly."

He said there are already blueprints about how to best provide transgender care.

"To be twiddling your thumbs and acting like that doesn't exist, that's just not in touch with reality," he said.

Dvorak said she hopes to hear from Tesmer for input on the rules and regulations.

For now, she says she won't be prescribing blockers or hormones to patients but will do what she can.

"The transgender community has a lot of medical trauma, and just feeling comfortable at a provider's office is not something they're used to," she said.

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