Kentucky governor vetoes controversial bill banning gender-affirming care for youth
Published in Health & Fitness
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a controversial bill Friday that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Kentucky.
In addition to banning puberty-blockers, hormones and surgeries for kids under 18, Senate Bill 150 would also ban lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation, prevents trans students from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity and stops school districts from requiring teachers use a student’s pronouns if they don’t align with their sex assigned at birth.
The Republican-dominated legislature will return on Wednesday and is likely to override this veto, which passed with near-unanimous GOP support.
In his veto message Friday, Beshear reiterated much of the criticism he’d said just a day earlier at a news conference.
“Senate Bill 150 allows too much government interference in personal health care issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children,” he wrote. “Senate Bill 150 further strips freedom from parents to make personal family decisions on the names their children are called and how people should refer to them.”
He cited statistics on youth mental health and suicide, including that nearly 1 in 5 trans or nonbinary youth have attempted suicide, according to the Trevor Project.
“Improving access to gender-affirming care is an important means of improving health outcomes for the transgender population,” Beshear wrote. “Senate Bill 150 will cause an increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth.”
Bill sponsor state Sen. Max Wise, a Campbellsville Republican and running mate of GOP gubernatorial candidate Kelly Craft, “admonished” Beshear’s decision to put “party over Kentuckians’ wish to eliminate woke ideologies” in a statement.
“Parents should look at this veto as a slap in the face,” Wise wrote. “It’s clear Governor Beshear cares more about woke ideologues and D.C. bureaucrats than parents and students here in Kentucky. I look forward to the legislature overriding this veto, and protecting children from the irreparable harm of gender transition surgeries by making SB 150 law.”
Whereas critics of the bill — including the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU of Kentucky and the Trevor Project — have called it the most “extreme” and “worst” anti-trans bill in the nation, Wise said it’s “one of the largest omnibus bills in the country strengthening protections” for kids.
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