The Republican-controlled Louisiana state House of Representatives has passed a bill banning physicians from providing gender-affirming care for transgender youth in the state, which, if signed into law, would make Louisiana the 17th state in the country to enact such a ban through state law.
According to an Associated Press analysis, two other states have also enacted administrative regulations or orders through the executive branch. A third state, Missouri, had done so as well, but recently rescinded the order, in part because a state law there banning such care is about to become law, too.
The bill in Louisiana will now advance to the state Senate for consideration, where it’s also expected to pass.
According to reporting from journalist Erin Reed, who tracks legislation that affects transgender people, the bill goes beyond what other states have done by requiring youth who have already received gender-affirming treatments — including reversible and safe puberty blockers and hormone treatments — to “systematically” reduce their hormone levels, a “cruel provision” that would “forcibly medically detransition them,” Reed said.
The bill also forbids the use of state funds to pay for gender-affirming care or transition services, in general, which would prevent transgender adults from receiving treatment in the state if they are insured through Medicaid.
In their efforts to pass the bill, Republican lawmakers blasted gender-affirming care by characterizing it with falsehoods and errant talking points, wrongly claiming that minors in the state were being sterilized and that those seeking out gender-affirming treatments were merely hopping onto a fad
“Why are we aggressively treating a social contagion with experimental treatments?” asked Rep. Gabe Firment (R), a sponsor of the bill.
Democrats and independents opposed to the measure noted that it would cause immense harm to trans children who benefit from gender-affirming care.
“If this is really about protecting kids, why are we ignoring lots of things that protect kids? Gender-affirming care for transgender kids reduces depression, reduces suicide and other devastating consequences,” said Rep. Joe Marino, an independent in the state House.
LGBTQ rights groups also blasted the measure, noting that such care is safe and life-saving.
“Denying transgender and non-binary youth access to best-practice care is dangerous, spiteful, and just another example of Louisiana legislators abusing their authority to achieve their own political ends — harming the children of Louisiana in the process,” said Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel.
“Being a kid is hard enough,” read a statement from Louisiana-based Forum for Equality, an LGBTQ human rights group, prior to the passage of the bill earlier this week. “We don’t need politicians making it even harder for trans kids to survive by denying them best-practice medical care and singling them out for increased bullying and harassment.”