Georgia Republican-controlled Legislature sent a bill Tuesday to Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) desk that would bar health professionals from administering certain types of gender-affirming care to minors, making it the latest Republican-led state to promote such prohibition.
The legislation seeks to ban surgical procedures and hormone replacement therapies for transgender patients under the age of 18, leaving room for healthcare professionals to administer puberty-blocking drugs.
Kemp has not indicated if he plans to sign the bill.
“Broadly speaking, this is really about us bullying kids for political points, and that to me is extraordinarily disheartening,” Georgia state Sen. Kim Jackson (D) said of the move, according to the associated press.
Similar legislation is currently pending in another part of the country. GOP-led states that have already passed bans include Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The main sponsor of the Georgia bill is State Senator Carden Summers (R), who apparently has no medical background.
summers told the public channel GPB News that supporters “want a wait-and-see approach, a do-no-harm approach, until the child is 18.”
“At that point, whatever the child or the family decides to do is their business,” he said.
The text of the bill states that there has been a “massive and unexplained increase in diagnoses of gender dysphoria among children over the last ten years,” a doubtful say frequently done by conservatives.
Supporters of legislation that targets transgender healthcare often say the bans are necessary to prevent children from making decisions they later regret.
However, a recent study published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that only 7.3% of 317 trans participants had changed their minds an average of five years after their first social transition as minors. The transition usually includes a social component, involving clothing, hairstyle, and preferred pronouns, before some people opt for medical intervention.
Research also indicates that transgender and non-binary youth consider suicide to a greater extent than their peers.
In early March, Mother Jones reported that restrictions on healthcare for transgender youth may be just the first step in larger efforts to ban gender-affirming care altogether, citing emails obtained from religious right lobbyists.
If you or someone you know needs help, please dial 988 or call 1-800-273-8255 for help. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also get text message support by visiting suicide preventionlifeline.org/chat. Outside the US, please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources