Restrictions on access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth have now passed both North Carolina legislative chambers, as the Senate on Tuesday approved a ban on hormone therapy, puberty blockers and surgeries that is more stringent than what the House recently passed.
The Senate’s proposal would prohibit any health care provider in the state from giving such care to anyone under 18, with exceptions for certain procedures or disorders. Medical professionals who violate the restrictions could have their licenses revoked and could be sued.
That compares with the House’s proposal, which only prohibits the performance of these procedures and therapies at public health care facilities, such as public hospitals or University of North Carolina affiliates.
The competing measures authored by Republicans in each chamber both prohibit using state funds to pay for gender-transition procedures.
With the Senate’s proposal, young people who begin treatment before Aug. 1 could continue receiving such care if it’s considered medically necessary and their parents consent. The House proposal takes effect Oct. 1.
Republican Sen. Joyce Krawiec of Forsyth County, who is shepherding the restrictions in the chamber, said children should be protected from receiving such life-altering treatments when they aren’t old enough to understand the long-term implications.
“We have no idea what the long-term consequences are going to be,” Krawiec said during floor debate, which ended in a 29-16 party-line vote. “The state has an interest in protecting our children from long-term harm. And that’s what this bill is all about.”
LGBTQ+ rights groups and parents of transgender youth fighting these limits said these bills will lead to increased depression for these young people and risk of suicide. They joined transgender persons in committee hearings recently demanding that the House and Senate measures be halted.
According to leading professional health associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society, gender-affirming care is considered safe and medically necessary.