South Carolina Senate Moves to Restrict Access to Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Minors

South Carolina Senate Moves to Restrict Access to Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Minors

Columbia, SC: Thursday, the South Carolina Senate approved a bill that means transgender children can’t get care that makes them feel better about their gender. This came after supporters failed to only ban treatments that would be considered irreversible.

All 27 Republicans who were there voted for the ban, and one Democrat voted against it. After the last few Democrats tried to leave so there would be too few senators to stay, the vote was called too quickly.

The bill says that doctors can’t do gender-transition surgeries, give puberty blockers, or let kids under 18 have hormone treatments.

In the event that a child wanted to use a name or pronouns that did not match the gender they were given at birth, the school director or vice principal would have to tell the child’s parents or guardians.

The Senate made changes to the bill after the House passed it in January. Now, either the House can vote to adopt the Senate version, or the bill will go to a conference committee with three members from each house to work out the differences.

People would also not be able to use Medicaid to pay for gender-affirming care under this bill.

A number of changes were made and approved. One of them lets mental health experts talk about treatments that are illegal and even suggest a place where they are legal. A second lets doctors give puberty blockers for certain conditions, like when a child starts what is called “precocious puberty” before they are 4 years old.

Opponents failed to get an amendment that would have banned only treatments that are thought to be irreversible, because backers of the bill were unhappy about who would decide what treatments would be covered by that part of the law.

According to Brad Hutto, the Democratic Senate Minority Leader, the changes didn’t really make the bill better.

South Carolina would be the 25th state to limit or ban this kind of care for children if the bill makes it to the governor’s desk and is passed.

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