BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana legislature has rejected a bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for minors.
The bill by state Rep. Gabe Firment, R-Pollock, looked to ban gender-affirming care, which mainly focuses on transgender children including treatments such as puberty blockers and hormones. The House-passed bill received bipartisan support and faced yet another tense debate in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
For weeks, LGBTQ advocates have been pushing to stop the bill, claiming it would negatively impact an already vulnerable population. There’s been a lot of misinformation swirling around each hearing with faulty studies being cited and rejection of standards of care from credible medical agencies.
“It’s fair to ask questions about gender-affirming health care. But what we have seen from going from no bills to target this is we have seen an explosion of transgender-focused bills targeting to remove their rights,” said Dr. Clifton Mixon, a pediatric psychologist.
Firment claims the treatments are harmful to children and that kids are not mature enough to make such decisions.
“When you hear testimony from those in the healthcare field opposed to this bill, I want you to consider how lucrative these experimental procedures are for the gender industry,” Firment said.
Currently, children who want to pursue gender-affirming care must get parental permission. Doctors who work with transgender kids pointed to statistics that show getting gender-affirming care greatly reduces the suicide rate. LGBTQ advocates also explained the treatments take years to get access to already as people typically are recommended to be in therapy for a length of time beforehand.
Firment continually rejected the statistics and claimed they were not true. He said his law would protect children from parents and doctors who would suggest this sort of care.
“We do not get to just remove health care for one vulnerable population. That is discrimination. And this bill was about discrimination. It was not about protecting kids,” Mixon said.
After hours of emotional testimony, a motion was made to defer the bill and the Republican chairman of the committee cast the tie-breaking vote.
“So for that, because I do believe in a physician and I believe in the right for a family to choose what’s best for them, I vote yes,” said state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks.
Many do believe the legislation, or something similar, will be back next year as it continues to be a national issue across many legislatures.