Nebraska Lawmakers Shielded ‘Clearly Ill’ Colleague Who Left the Hospital to Help Ban Abortion

Sen. Julie Slama's (R) colleagues helped her hide from TV cameras as she gave the GOP the vote they needed to limit abortion and ban gender-affirming care.

Nebraska Lawmakers Shielded ‘Clearly Ill’ Colleague Who Left the Hospital to Help Ban Abortion
Nebraska state senators shielding Sen. Julie Slama from TV cameras Screenshot:Twitter/PaulHammelNE (Fair Use)

Nebraska’s unicameral legislature passed a Frankenstein bill on Friday that bans both gender-affirming care for minors and abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Republicans were so intent on passing the hateful legislation that not only did one lawmaker complain how filibusters made her miss her grandson’s preschool graduation, but another left the hospital so she could vote for it.

Reporter Paul Hammel of the Nebraska Examiner shared a photo on Twitter of State Sen. Julie Slama (R) seated at a desk looking “clearly ill,” as he put it, and noted that a bipartisan group of of lawmakers both for and against the bill stood around the desk in an attempt to block TV cameras from filming her. Hammel said Slama left the hospital to be there and thanks to her presence, Legislative Bill 574 passed by the minimum number of votes to avoid a filibuster, 33-15. (The chamber has 49 members and needs a two-thirds vote to overcome a filibuster.)

Slama re-shared the photo and said she’d been hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but serious form of morning sickness that can result in weight loss and dehydration. Slama said she made it back to the Capitol building in time to vote for LB 574 and thanked her colleagues who “put their differences aside” to create a wall around her.

She also had the gall to talk about medical privacy, writing, “Do I like that [the photo is] out there? No. But sometimes in gov’t, private battles end up public.” And sometimes politicians decide they’re the arbiters of what healthcare people can get—with her votes, Slama is herself turning private healthcare decisions into public battles.

Slama continued “I shared to address questions about my health, but also to give my colleagues credit for their kindness, esp. @senatormachaela.” State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh (D) is the lawmaker who filibustered LB 574 for months and pledged to “burn this session to the ground over this bill.”

It’s all very rich given that Slama previously said Republicans were retaliating against Cavanaugh’s filibuster, which she described as Cavanaugh “[running] her mouth,” per the Associated Press:

After lawmakers merged the abortion limits with the transgender health bill, Cavanaugh clashed with Sen. Julie Slama, who insinuated that conservatives were supporting the restrictions on gender-affirming care to retaliate against Cavanaugh. Slama noted that the restrictions did not initially have the 33 votes needed to survive.
“But then Machaela Cavanaugh got up and ran her mouth because she was just overjoyed that the national media was here to give her some more attention,” Slama said. “So that gave us 33 votes.”

Jezebel contacted Slama’s office for comment and did not hear back by publication time.

If neither Slama nor her colleague who complained about the preschool graduation had been present, the bill would have failed. State Sen. Megan Hunt (I), who has a trans son, told that Republican—State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan—“you hate [my son] more than you love your own family. And that’s why you’re here.”

It’s important to note that a six-week abortion ban had previously failed, so Republicans slapped this different ban onto the anti-trans LB 574, which turned it into the disgustingly titled the “Let Them Grow Act and the Preborn Child Protection Act.” Republican Gov. Jim Pillen signed it on Monday, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska is exploring legal options.

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