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Nebraska governor signs order narrowly defining sex as that assigned at birth

Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Jim Pillen on Wednesday signed an executive order strictly defining a person’s sex.

The order notably does not use the term “transgender,” although it appears directed at limiting transgender access to certain public spaces. It orders state agencies to define “female” and “male” as a person’s sex assigned at birth.

“It is common sense that men do not belong in women’s only spaces,” Pillen said in a statement. “As Governor, it is my duty to protect our kids and women’s athletics, which means providing single-sex spaces for women’s sports, bathrooms, and changing rooms.”

Pillen’s order came less than a month after Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an almost identical order.

The Nebraska and Oklahoma orders both include definitions for the words “man,” “boy,” “woman,” “girl,” “father” and “mother.” They specifically define a female as a person “whose biological reproductive system is designed to produce ova” and a male as a person whose “biological reproductive system is designed to fertilize the ova of a female.”

Both state orders direct schools and other state agencies to use those definitions when collecting vital statistics, such as data on crime and discrimination.

Pillen’s order took effect immediately and will expire if Nebraska lawmakers pass a law on trans athletes.

A bill to restrict transgender student participation in high school sports and limit access to bathrooms and locker rooms was introduced by Nebraska state Sen. Kathleen Kauth this past legislative session but did not advance out of committee. She has promised to try again next session.

Kauth also introduced the highly controversial bill banning gender-affirming surgery for anyone under 19 and restricting the use of hormone treatments and puberty blockers in minors.

The bill passed after supporters broke up a months-long filibuster by combining the measure with a 12-week abortion ban.

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Associated Press writer Margery A. Beck contributed to this report from Omaha, Nebraska.

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