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Prohibition of state funds for gender transition procedures for minors advances

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(The Center Square) – Legislation to prohibit public health facilities and state funds for gender transition procedures for minors cleared the House Health Committee on Tuesday.

Members on Tuesday approved a committee substitute for Senate Bill 631, formally the Senate version of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, that aims to block state-funded gender transitions for minors.

The approval came the same day the upper chamber voted 31-17 to pass the House’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, House Bill 574, following a compromise between the chambers. HB574, once concurred in the House, will preserve the integrity of women’s middle, high school and college sports by prohibiting biologically male students from playing on female teams. The Senate approval came over the objections of several Democrats who spoke out on the floor against the bill.

HB574 initially cleared the House 73-39 in April, with three Democrats joining the majority, before minor amendments in the Senate.

Gov. Roy Cooper has not signaled whether he will veto the legislation. Republican supermajorities in both chambers render him in lame duck status.

Pitt County Republican physician Rep. Timothy Reeder told the House Health Committee SB631 “seeks to limit children from life changing treatments before they’re able to consent to those treatments.”

“We must consider these treatments are permanent and lead to permanent harm,” he said.

Reeder cited a lack of medical evidence that gender transitions for minors provide long-term benefits, and said it’s “critical to know the impact on adults first” before expanding treatments to children.

Democrats drew comparisons between SB631 and school choice legislation currently pending in the General Assembly, questioning why parents should have the right to choose schools but not gender transition treatments for their kids.

“Why are we standing in the way of parents making this decision for their children?” asked Rep. Cecil Brockman, D-Guilford.

“When you’re choosing your school, it’s not a permanent intervention,” Reeder said, noting the life-long impact of puberty blockers and surgeries.

Republicans noted that minors cannot get tattoos, drink alcohol or use tobacco products, even with parental consent.

Public testimony featured young adults on both sides of the issue, including a woman who described how medical professionals advocated for her gender transition to male as a teen and the painful consequences that persist after she reversed course.

SB631 received favorable passage as opponents shouted “shame” and other objections at lawmakers. The bill moves to the House rules committee, typically the last stop before a floor vote.

Similar legislation to prohibit gender transitions for minors, House Bill 808, is slated for the Senate Health Care Committee on Wednesday. HB808 cleared the lower chamber 74-44 on the eve of crossover, with two Democrats siding with the majority.

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