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North Carolina Legislators Approve Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Minors

by Sophia Chen
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On Wednesday, North Carolina lawmakers gave their final approval to a legislation that bans certain forms of gender-affirming care for children and restricts the use of state funds for related therapies and procedures.

The measure, previously approved by the Senate on Tuesday, was accepted by the House with a vote of 67-46. Under the legislation, medical professionals are prohibited from providing hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and surgical gender transition procedures to individuals under the age of 18, with some exceptions for medical cases.

However, young people who have already commenced treatment before August 1 will be allowed to continue receiving care if it is deemed medically necessary and their parents provide consent.

In other news, a judge is currently considering whether to block parts of North Carolina’s abortion law, which includes a broader 12-week ban. Additionally, the ban on gender-affirming care for minors in North Carolina has passed another legislative chamber, while the Supreme Court has rejected the GOP’s involvement in a North Carolina case that could have had implications for elections beyond the state. Furthermore, North Carolina Republicans have initiated efforts to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a farm bill.

The bill, authored by Republicans, now awaits the decision of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who is likely to veto it. Governor Cooper has expressed opposition to bills targeting transgender youth. The Republican party holds slim veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers.

Critics of the bill have already indicated their intention to challenge it in court if it becomes law. Many of the approximately 20 states with laws restricting or prohibiting gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors are facing lawsuits.

Last week, a federal judge ruled Arkansas’ ban on such care as unconstitutional, and on Wednesday, judges temporarily blocked sections of bans in Kentucky and Tennessee.

The bill received final approval from the General Assembly following impassioned speeches by lawmakers. Opponents argue that denying this care is cruel and would lead to increased depression and higher risks of suicide among transgender youth.

“You’re essentially telling them, ‘you don’t matter. We don’t value you. We don’t care about you because you don’t need medical treatment. You don’t need anything because you’re not human,'” stated Representative Allison Dahle, a Democrat from Wake County.

Supporters of the bill contend that these life-altering treatments have long-term implications and assert that they have not been thoroughly scrutinized. Therefore, they argue that such services should be postponed until individuals reach legal adulthood.

“The primary objective is to protect our most vulnerable population from these harmful practices,” said Representative Ken Fontenot, a Republican from Wilson County.

Prominent professional health associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Endocrine Society, affirm that gender-affirming care is safe and medically necessary.

While transgender minors rarely undergo surgical procedures, they often receive prescriptions for puberty blockers and hormones before reaching adulthood.

According to the bill, healthcare providers who fail to comply with the rules could face revocation of their licenses. Additionally, they may be liable for monetary damages if an adult alleges that the procedures or therapies they received as a child caused them harm.

Governor Cooper is also considering another piece of legislation that was approved last week, which seeks to ban transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in middle school, high school, and college.

Furthermore, the House recently passed an extensive public school education measure that would prohibit instruction on gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms. The bill, nearing final legislative approval, would also require public school teachers, in most cases, to inform parents before using a different name or pronoun for a student.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about transgender healthcare

What does the legislation in North Carolina regarding gender-affirming care for trans children entail?

The legislation in North Carolina prohibits certain gender-affirming care for children and restricts the use of state funds for such therapies and procedures. Medical professionals are barred from providing hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and surgical gender transition procedures to individuals under 18, with some exceptions for medical cases.

Will young people who are already receiving gender-affirming care be affected by the legislation?

Young people who have already begun treatment before August 1 will be allowed to continue receiving such care if it is deemed medically necessary and their parents provide consent.

What is the position of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on this legislation?

Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is likely to veto the legislation as he has expressed opposition to bills targeting trans youth.

Are there any legal challenges anticipated regarding this legislation?

Critics of the legislation have indicated their intention to pursue litigation if it becomes law. Many other states with similar laws are facing lawsuits, and recently, bans in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee have faced legal challenges.

What are the arguments for and against the legislation?

Opponents of the legislation argue that denying gender-affirming care to trans youth is cruel and increases the risk of depression and suicide. Supporters of the legislation contend that these treatments have long-term implications and require further scrutiny before being provided to individuals who are legally minors.

What do leading professional health associations say about gender-affirming care?

Prominent professional health associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Endocrine Society, consider gender-affirming care to be safe and medically necessary.

Are there any other related bills pending for consideration?

There is another bill pending that seeks to ban transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in middle school, high school, and college. Additionally, a public school education measure is nearing final legislative approval, which includes prohibiting instruction on gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms and requiring teachers to inform parents before using different names or pronouns for students in most cases.

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