Kentucky Bans Transgender Procedures for Minors After Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
March 29, 2023US News
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Kentucky Bans Transgender Procedures for Minors After Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto
Opponents and supporters of transgender bill SB 150 rally at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., on March 29, 2023. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Lawmakers in Kentucky’s legislature on Wednesday passed into law S.B. 150—a bill that prevents minors from accessing transgender procedures—having voted to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of the measure.

The move means that Kentucky is the 11th state in the country to ban transgender procedures for minors. It becomes the eighth state to do so this year.

Proposed by state Sen. Max Wise, S.B. 150 (pdf) bars children under 18 from accessing transgender procedures such as puberty blockers, hormone therapies, surgeries—such as castration, penectomy, and mastectomy—and other gender transitioning services.

The new state law also bans teachers in public schools through the fifth grade from raising in the classroom topics related to human sexuality, such as those about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Under the law, local school districts cannot compel staffers to use a student or teacher’s preferred pronouns.

It also blocks students from using restrooms and locker rooms that don’t reflect their biological sex.

S.B. 150 had passed the state legislature, where Republicans wield supermajorities, before it was vetoed by Beshear during the General Assembly on March 24.

The votes overriding Beshear’s veto were largely along party lines. The Senate voted 29-8, shortly followed by the House completing the override with a vote of 76-23.

The override votes came on the next-to-last day of this year’s legislative session.

Beshear is seeking reelection to a second term. He said in his veto message that S.B. 150 “allows too much government interference in personal healthcare issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children.”

Debate Continues

Hundreds of protesters for and against the measure gathered outside the state Capitol on Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky reiterated it intends to “take this fight to the courts.”

“While we lost the battle in the legislature, our defeat is temporary. We will not lose in court,” said Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization.

In praising the veto override, David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation, said the bill puts “policy in alignment with the truth that every child is created as a male or female and deserves to be loved, treated with dignity and accepted for who they really are.”

Last month, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) warned about “unknown and unknowable long-term risks” it says are inherent to gender transition procedures in minors, adding that the consequences of gender transition surgery are irreversible.

The group warned that gender transition procedures are “generally irreversible and have a high probability of causing sterilization.” The procedures also “commit a patient to a lifelong need for medical, surgical, and psychological care.”

Such procedures in minors also are medically and ethically contraindicated due to a lack of informed consent, the AAPS stated.

Separately, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have in recent years issued statements in support of gender transition procedures that they call “gender-affirming care.”

Both groups assert that gender transition procedures may improve a gender dysphoric person’s mental health and lower rates of suicide in the immediate future, and that forgoing such care puts the patient at higher risk of anxiety, stress, substance abuse, and suicide.

But the groups’ statements don’t acknowledge that other approaches to mental health care and suicide prevention are available, and that some gender transition procedures render the individual highly unlikely to be able to reproduce in the future or make other changes that are irreversible and they may come to regret.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times