North Carolina formally bans transgender girls in school sports and all youth gender-affirming care

The veto-override makes North Carolina the 22nd state to enact laws banning gender-affirming medical care for trans minors

Andrea Blanco
Thursday 17 August 2023 00:13 BST

Related video: New policy for transgender students voted on by Spotsylvania Co. Schools

The GOP-led North Carolina General Assembly has voted to uphold several pieces of anti-trans legislation.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper had previously vetoed bills restricting gender-affirming health care for minors and limiting transgender participation in sports. The House and the Senate completed the override to Gov Cooper’s veto with six decisive final votes on Wednesday evening, making North Carolina the 22nd state to enact laws banning gender-affirming medical care for trans minors.

The first bill, HB 574, bans transgender girls in middle school, high school and college from joining women’s sports. A second bill, HB 808, bars medical professionals from providing hormone therapy, puberty-blocking drugs and surgical gender-transition procedures to anyone under 18.

SB 49, or the “Parents Bill of Rights,” requires teachers to inform parents when a student questions their gender or chooses to use a different pronoun. The three bills have been passed into law and take effect immediately following the unanimous veto override.

However, minors who have started gender-affirming treatment before 1 August could continue receiving that care if their doctors deem it medically necessary and their parents consent.

Governor Cooper issued a statement decrying the veto override actions.

“The legislature finally comes back to pass legislation that discriminates ... Yet they still won’t pass a budget when teachers, school bus drivers and Medicaid Expansion for thousands of working people getting kicked off their health plans every week are desperately needed,” it read. “These are the wrong priorities, especially when they should be working nights and weekends if necessary to get a budget passed by the end of the month.”

“When we were all sworn into this office, we all swore an oath to uphold the constitution of the state and the US. When we have a group of citizens who are 8 times more likely to die by suicide and we are banning their healthcare, that’s violating that oath,” Democrat Rep Sarah Crawford said during the voting session.

Rep John Autry, who is a grandparent to a transgender child, became emotional as he begged Republicans to “just stop it.” The Republican veto-proof majorities in both chambers are the first since 2018.

Some of the anti-transgender laws upheld on Wednesday are already facing court challenges. Elizabeth Waugh, the mother of a nonbinary child, told the Associated Press that she was considering moving out of state.

“I have felt like I had a lump in my throat for months,” Ms Waugh said. “Just talking to other families who are dealing with this, I mean, the pain that they are feeling, the suffering, the fear for their children — it’s devastating.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society, gender-affirming care is considered safe and medically necessary.

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