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North Carolina lawmakers send ban on gender-affirming care for minors to governor’s desk

<i>Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>Law enforcement stand guard outside of the state capitol building in downtown Raleigh
Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images
Law enforcement stand guard outside of the state capitol building in downtown Raleigh

By Dianne Gallagher and Kaanita Iyer, CNN

(CNN) — North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature has advanced a bill that would ban certain gender-affirming care for minors to the governor’s desk.

The state’s House voted to pass the bill Wednesday along party lines after it cleared the state Senate earlier this week. The measure now awaits a decision from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has been a vocal opponent of legislation targeting LGBTQ youth this session and is expected to veto the bill.

North Carolina Republicans, who have the ability to override the governor’s veto, have introduced at least 12 anti-LGBTQ bills this legislative session, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Last week, the state legislature passed a ban on transgender athletes competing on girls’ sports teams, which is also on the governor’s desk.

The legislation passed Wednesday bans doctors in the state from providing gender-affirming care to minors, even if there is parental consent. Under House Bill 808, medical professionals are prohibited from performing surgical gender transition procedures, prescribing puberty-blocking drugs and providing hormone treatments for those under the age of 18, though there are extremely limited exceptions for certain disorders. If a doctor breaks the law, the bill calls for their medical license to be revoked.

Gender-affirming care spans a range of evidence-based treatments and approaches that benefit transgender and nonbinary people. The types of care vary by the age and goals of the recipient, and are considered the standard of care by many mainstream medical associations.

The legislation would also create a 25-year window after former patients turn 18 to file civil action against doctors and their employers for perceived damages related to gender-affirming care.

The new restrictions would not apply to any child who begins treatment before August 1, if a doctor determines their care to be “medically necessary” and they have parental consent.

The NC Values Coalition celebrated the bill’s advancement, calling it “compassionate legislation” and urging Cooper “to choose children over activists.”

The nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, meanwhile, called on the governor to veto the legislation.

“Like all kids, transgender youth deserve the best quality medical care that ensures they can live their healthiest lives, including age-appropriate gender-affirming care. Like all kids, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” the Human Rights Campaign’s vice president of legal, Sarah Warbelow, said in a statement. “Distressingly, extremist North Carolina lawmakers don’t care about the facts or the tremendous harm H808 will cause, they care only about advancing their anti-LGBTQ+ crusade.”

LGBTQ rights have become a marquee issue in state legislatures nationwide with at least 20 states moving to curb gender-affirming care.

But several such state restrictions have been blocked, at least in part, due to concerns that they may violate constitutional rights. This month, judges halted bans in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, and, last week – in the strongest blow yet to a state prohibition on gender-affirming care – a federal judge struck down Arkansas’ ban.

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CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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