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States continue efforts to restrict health care for transgender youth

Lawmakers in several states are trying to strengthen existing restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors.
States continue efforts to restrict health care for transgender youth
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 18:19:37-05

As legislative sessions begin for the year, Republican-led legislatures in several states are considering additional measures to restrict health care for transgender individuals.

House Republicans in Ohio voted on Jan. 10 to override Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's veto of a bill that would bar gender-affirming care for minors. If the Senate also overrides the veto later in January, the ban will go into effect in the state.

The Republican-controlled House in South Carolina voted to move forward on legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for minors and for those under the age of 26 who are on Medicaid.

The Republican-majority House of Representatives in New Hampshire voted to ban gender-transition surgery for patients under the age of 18.

Legislation in West Virginia would ban gender-affirming care for those under 21.

Most of the 22 states that have some ban on gender-affirming care for children enacted those bans within the last year. Some states are now considering legislation to tighten the existing restrictions.

In Missouri, one bill would reverse a provision in the state's existing law that would expire the ban on gender-affirming care for minors in 2027, effectively making the ban permanent. Another bill would reverse existing law that allows minors who began gender-affirming care before new restrictions started to continue that care.

In some states, laws also restrict such care for adults. A Florida law signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last year sharply limits the ability of transgender adults to receive gender-affirming care.

SEE MORE: Here are the new state laws going into effect on Jan. 1

Supporters of the new restrictions liken them to age laws that govern driving or drinking alcohol.

"Children, especially younger children, don’t make good decisions, and they’re not certain exactly what reality is sometimes," said Missouri Republican State Sen. Mike Moon.

Challenges to new laws are progressing as well. In November, the American Civil Liberties Union asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block restrictions on transgender youth health care in Kentucky and Tennessee.


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