Last-minute move revives ban on gender-affirming care for Kentucky youth. House OKs it
Published in Health & Fitness
FRANKFORT, Ky. — In a last-minute switch Thursday, Republicans revived an omnibus anti-LGBTQ bill, which includes a ban on gender-affirming health care for Kentucky’s transgender youth.
Less than a day after Senate Republicans voted to dramatically scale back a bill that many in the party said went too far because it left trans kids with no health care options, state Sen. Max Wise, a Campbellsville Republican, and state Rep. David Meade, a Stanford Republican, introduced an amended version of Senate Bill 150 that would do just that. It passed the House with near-unanimous Republican support, 75-22.
It’s the latest sign of disunity among Kentucky Republicans in a session marked by a raft of GOP legislation to combat “woke” issues. The final days of the Legislature’s regular session have revealed division and infighting among the political majority as they grapple with how far to wade into national culture wars.
Before the House Education Committee Thursday morning, Wise and Meade introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 150. The bill in its original form prohibits schools from requiring or recommending teachers use a trans student’s preferred pronouns, and required schools to notify parents when curriculum related to human sexuality was going to be taught.
On top of that, it now includes portions of House Bill 177, banning “any child regardless of grade level” from receiving presentation or instruction “studying or exploring gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.”
It also includes a provision potentially restricting transgender students’ use of school bathrooms. The bill requires that schools develop a bathroom policy that protects students’ “privacy rights” as outlined in a section that condemns allowing trans students to use a bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. That section does not mandate that schools or districts ban trans students from using a bathroom that corresponds with their identity, but strongly suggests they should.
And, perhaps most notably, Wise’s amended bill revives earlier versions of House Bill 470 from state Rep. Jennifer Decker, a Waddy Republican, to enact an outright ban on all gender-affirming care for youth with gender dysphoria in Kentucky. It would outlaw the standard of care treatment for this population by outlawing gender reassignment surgery, the prescription of puberty blockers and hormones, and inpatient and outpatient gender-affirming hospital services for anyone under age 18.
When asked by state Rep. Tina Bojanowski, a Louisville Democrat, whether they consulted health care providers or families of trans Kentuckians, Meade said hastily that they had.
“I think that, as you saw in the testimony on the floor and in committee, there is evidence this is harmful to children,” Meade said, referencing people who testified in favor of Decker’s bill, most of whom were from out of state. Doctors on behalf of the Kentucky Medical Association, the Kentucky chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Psychological Association testified in strong opposition to the bill. “Our job is to protect children, and that’s what we’re doing here,” Meade added.
The committee passed the amended omnibus bill, but not along party lines.
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