Louisiana Senate passes gender-affirming car ban bill for transgender youth

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A controversial bill — which at one point was presumed dead — banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth in Louisiana passed the Senate on Monday and is expected to reach the desk of the governor in the coming days.

The bill, which passed the Senate mostly along party lines, 29-10, would ban hormone treatments, gender-affirming surgery and puberty-blocking drugs for transgender minors in Louisiana. The measure will go back to the House, which has already passed the legislation by an overwhelming majority, to approve minor changes, including pushing back the law’s effective date to January 1, 2024.

If the House agrees, the legislation would be sent to the office of Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who opposes it. Edwards did not say whether he would veto the bill. If he does, lawmakers could call a veto session to try to override his decision. Last session, Edwards chose not to block a law banning transgender athletes from competing in women’s and women’s sports in Louisiana, though he successfully vetoed a similar measure last year.

The proposed ban on gender-affirming care drew national attention last month when a Senate committee voted to kill the bill. Longtime Republican Senator Fred Mills was the deciding vote, opposing the legislation citing that it was “based on science and data and not political or societal pressure”.

In a year where restrictions and bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth have been high on conservative agendas — with at least 18 states enacting laws limiting or banning medical care, including the three states bordering Louisiana – the rejection of the controversial legislation has not gone unnoticed.

In the days following the vote to postpone the bill, State Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is running for GOP governorship this year, and the Louisiana Republican Party lobbied Republicans to resuscitate the bill. In a rare procedural move, the Senate voted to send the controversial bill to another committee, successfully giving it a second chance.

Additionally, anti-transgender activists have taken to social media, including conservative political commentator Matt Walsh, who tweeted to his nearly 2 million followers that Mills would regret his decision and that it was “the biggest mistake of his political career.

Mills, whose term is limited, told Senate lawmakers on Monday that despite being harassed by his family, businesses and himself for his decision on Capitol Hill, he was proud of his vote and called it ” decisive moment” in his legislative career. .

“I want to tell you that it’s probably one of the greatest blessings of my life, this controversy. I’ve been attacked all over the country, but I don’t hate these people…they are passionate about their issue. “, Mills “People who have contacted me across the United States … thanking me for possibly preventing a suicide (with the vote of the committee), I will let you all know that I love you and I hope things work out for you.”

Opponents of the ban argue that gender-affirming care, which is backed by all major medical organizations, can save the life of someone with gender dysphoria, which is a distress related to one’s identity. gender that does not correspond to the sex assigned to a person. LGBTQ+ community advocates fear that without care, transgender children face particularly increased risks for stress, depression and suicidal thoughts.

“When people, especially our young people, talk about suicide, it’s not something you take lightly,” said Sen. Gérald Boudreaux, a Democrat opposed to the bill. “You wait too long and you’re at the funeral home.”

Proponents of the legislation argue that the proposed ban would protect children from life-changing medical procedures until they are mature enough to make such serious decisions.

” It’s not complicated. Children should not have access to permanent medical procedures in order to assert an identity that they could outgrow,” said Republican Senator Jeremy Stine.

Currently, children in Louisiana need parental permission to receive gender-affirming health care before they turn 18.

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