State lawmakers consider bills that would ban certain medical treatments for transgender kids

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 6:54 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Texas lawmakers heard three bills this week in Austin that would prohibit transgender kids from accessing certain treatments like puberty blockers, hormone treatments and certain surgeries.

Senate Bill 1646 by State Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, would classify it as child abuse, enforced by Child Protective Services, if parents backed their kids’ decisions to receive these treatments.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 1311 by State Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, and House Bill 1399 by State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, would prohibit health care professionals from providing these treatments.

“When left to nature’s God, 90% of children solve their own problem by the age of puberty if they are not interfered with by misguided psychologists or mutilating chemicals or surgery,” Hall said during a marathon hearing for his bill.

Supporters of the bills largely argue that kids are not old enough to make decisions regarding these medical treatments.

Meanwhile, opponents say that the authors are politicizing personal decisions that should be between families and healthcare providers.

“It’s important that we let families and their providers decide what that care looks like,” Dr. Emily Stone, a marriage and family therapist at the counseling center Just Mind in Austin, told KWTX.

“When we turn care into a criminal act, we are isolating individuals in a way that will absolutely lead to deadly consequences,” she said.

Several major medical associations have come out against similar bills in other states.

“If left unchallenged, there will be transgender teens in certain zip codes who will be unable to access basic medical care, and pediatricians in certain zip codes who would be criminalized for providing medical care,” said Dr. Lee Savio Beers, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a written statement last month.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that youth who identify as transgender have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space,” the statement continues.

The American Psychological Association has noted that “access to gender-affirming care has a positive correlation with the mental health of transgender youth” and that it lowers their risk of suicide.

Last week, Arkansas became the first state to ban certain medical treatments for transgender kids.

At least 13 other states are considering similar bills.

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