Louisiana has banned certain transgender procedures for individuals under 18, following lawmakers’ overturning of Governor John Bel Edwards’ veto of the bill.
The Stop Harming Our Kids Act, or HB 648, initially vetoed by Governor Edwards, a Democrat, after passing the Republican-controlled state legislature in June, is now set to become law on January 1, 2024.
New law bans transgender procedures for minors
The law will prohibit healthcare professionals from conducting transgender procedures on minors, such as hormone treatments, puberty-blocking drugs, and gender reassignment surgery.
Critics regard the latter, which includes double mastectomies for girls identifying as boys, as mutilation.
Louisiana maintains transgender treatment rules
A 60 percent majority was required in both legislative chambers to override the veto. The Louisiana House voted 76-23, and the Senate voted 28-11.
Until 2024, current regulations persist: anyone under 18 must secure parental consent before undergoing hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and other gender dysphoria treatments.
Edwards, Landry clash over transgender treatment bill
Governor Edwards has argued that the legislation “needlessly harms a very small population of vulnerable children,” anticipating that courts will “throw out this unconstitutional bill.”
In contrast, Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, applauded the move as a means to “protect children” and “strengthen the family unit.”
Rep. Gabe applauds new law for protecting kids
Critics such as the ACLU of Louisiana and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast have expressed concern over the legislation’s impact on the health and safety of transgender children.
However, Rep. Gabe Firment, a Republican, justified HB 648 as a measure to “protect kids from irreversible experimental medical interventions.”
Experts cite risks of transgender procedures in dysphoria treatment
This decision comes amidst international debate over gender dysphoria treatment. Clinicians and researchers from nine countries signed a letter arguing that “best available evidence” does not support treatment with transgender procedures.
The experts cited significant risks, including “sterility, lifelong dependence on medication, and the anguish of regret,” and suggested psychotherapy as the preferred first line of treatment.
The experts further disputed claims that gender transition reduces suicide rates, arguing, “There is no reliable evidence to suggest that hormonal transition is an effective suicide-prevention measure.”
Dr. Mason criticizes transgender treatment as political, profit-driven
Opponents regard gender dysphoria as a psychological issue requiring psychological solutions, while proponents view the procedures as “gender-affirming care.” Twenty states have already passed similar laws.
Recently, organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have advocated for the increased use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, even recommending gender reassignment surgeries for children.
Dr. Julia Mason, an AAP member, deemed this trend “primarily political” and profit-driven.
Louisiana decision reflects national transgender healthcare debate
This decision underscores a broader national debate on transgender rights and healthcare in the United States, with individual states often enacting divergent laws.
While Louisiana aligns with other states imposing restrictions on transgender healthcare for minors, it also starkly contrasts those allowing more expansive access to such treatments.
Balancing rights, welfare in transgender healthcare
As the issue continues to be politically charged, many look to the healthcare and legal communities for guidance and decisions that balance individual rights, ethical considerations, and the welfare of minors.
As the landscape changes, it remains critical for patients, healthcare providers, and lawmakers alike to stay informed and engage in ongoing conversations about these crucial issues.