Texas Poised to Enact Ban on Puberty Blockers, Hormone Therapies, Surgeries for Minors

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
May 18, 2023Politics
Texas Poised to Enact Ban on Puberty Blockers, Hormone Therapies, Surgeries for Minors
The U.S. and Texas state flags fly over the state Capitol building in Austin, Texas on July 12, 2021. (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Texas is set to join the ranks of at least 17 other states by prohibiting hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and sex change surgeries for minors.

On Wednesday, the state Legislature passed Senate Bill 14 (pdf), sending it to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signing.

The bill, which sailed through the GOP-controlled House (87–56) on Monday and the Senate (19–12) on Wednesday, has been championed by Republicans and advocates as a measure to safeguard children from life-altering medical procedures.

While the House vote was mostly along party lines, four Democrats voted with Republicans to approve the measure. They include state Reps. Harold Dutton of Houston, Tracy King of Batesville, Shawn Thierry of Houston, and Abel Herrero of Robstown.

However, the legislation faced opposition from Democratic lawmakers and protesters who advocate for “gender-affirming care.” Earlier this month, a number of demonstrators were expelled from the state Capitol in response to the bill.

It comes as Texas lawmakers debate a separate bill, Senate Bill 15, called the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which would ban biological males identifying as female from competing in women’s collegiate sports. If enacted, Texas would become part of an increasing group of conservative states that are prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in sports teams that do not align with their sex at birth.

The Bill

Under the new law, minors who are already undergoing hormone replacement therapies and puberty blockers prior to June 1 will be permitted to “wean off” prescribed drugs under medical supervision. The process must prioritize safety, medical appropriateness, and minimize the risk of complications, as stipulated by the bill.

The bill specifically prohibits physicians and health care providers from performing surgeries that result in sterilization of minors. This includes procedures such as castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, metoidioplasty, orchiectomy, penectomy, phalloplasty, and vaginoplasty.

The legislation also prohibits mastectomies and the administration of prescription drugs that induce transient or permanent infertility. This encompasses puberty suppression drugs, testosterone for females, and estrogen for males.

The removal of healthy or non-diseased body parts or tissue is also explicitly prohibited.

However, the bill includes exceptions. Physicians and health care providers may administer puberty suppression drugs to minors experiencing precocious puberty, but only with the consent of their parent or legal guardian.

Moreover, procedures or treatments may be provided to minors diagnosed with medically verifiable genetic disorders of sex development or abnormal sex chromosome structures. In such cases, the appropriateness and necessity of the treatment would be determined through a physician’s genetic testing.

The legislation also imposes restrictions on the use of public funds or assistance for the procedures.

At Least 17 States Have Passed Similar Bills

Similar laws to ban transgender-related medical procedures have been passed in 17 other states, according to the Equality Federation, a pro-LGBT advocacy group that tracks bills.

The organization has monitored at least 130 bills related to medical procedures, some of which were defeated, some are currently under consideration, and others have already become law.

A common theme among these bills is the prohibition of providing puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and sex change surgeries to minors.

In certain instances, states like Arkansas have introduced measures that would facilitate malpractice lawsuits by holding health care providers accountable for civil action for up to 15 years after a minor reaches 18 if they performed gender transition procedures on that individual.

Florida has taken a firm stance on the issue, as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on May 17 granting Florida courts “temporary emergency jurisdiction” over a child who has undergone or faced threats of sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures.

Exceptions to the bans also exhibit similarities across several states, including provisions for treatments deemed “medically necessary” and circumstances allowing continued treatment for minors who were already undergoing “irreversible hormone replacement therapies” prior to the enactment of the laws.

Idaho has gone as far as making it a felony to perform such medical procedures on minors, establishing some of the strictest restrictions in the country.

Lawmakers advocating for these bans often emphasize the life-altering consequences of such treatments. The voices of “detransitioners” have been influential in shaping these discussions.

Detransitioners are individuals who have expressed regret over undergoing “gender-affirming” procedures and have taken steps to reverse them. They have shared their experiences with lawmakers in various states, asserting they were misled by doctors and transgender activists, and now suffer from the irreversible effects of the treatments they received.

From The Epoch Times

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