Three North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday introduced a bill that would prevent physicians from providing transgender youth under the age of 21 with gender-affirming treatment.
Senate Bill 514, the “Youth Health Protection Act,” would prevent physicians from performing gender-affirming surgeries, including “top” and “bottom” procedures, and from providing puberty blocks and hormone treatments to any trans patient under 21. Medical providers who violation these restrictions could risk losing their license or face a $1,000 fee for each infraction. The bill also compels any government agent with knowledge that a minor in its care exhibits “symptoms of gender dysphoria, gender nonconformity” or “a desire to be treated in a manner incongruent to the minor’s sex” to notify in writing the parents or guardians.
These measures, the authors of the bill write, are designed to protect “minors who are incapable of comprehending the negative implications and life-course difficulties attending these interventions.”
Opponents of the bill, however, argue that the restrictions are not medically sound, and could risk “outing” and trans youth to parents and family before they are ready.
“Transgender youth have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and affirmed, not singled out and denied critical care that is backed by virtually every leading authority,” Reverend Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said in a statement reported by the AP.
The bill was introduced just one day before Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed a similar bill in his state, and two days before the General Assembly overturned his veto. Unlike the Arkansas bill, which defines “minor” as anyone under the age of 18, the North Carolina bill extends the prohibition to anyone 21 and under.
The AP does report that the North Carolina bill is unlikely to pass into law despite the state’s GOP majorities in both state houses.