A bill restricting the medical interventions legally permitted to be offered to minors who identify as transgender has been passed by Georgia’s legislature.
Senate Bill 140 was transmitted to Governor Brian Kemp on March 21 to the dismay of some activists who advocate for early medical intervention as a treatment for transgenderism.
“There has been a massive unexplained rise in diagnoses of gender dysphoria among children over the past ten years, with most of those experiencing this phenomenon being girls,” states the bill. “Gender dysphoria is often comorbid with other mental health and developmental conditions, including autism spectrum disorder. A significant portion of children with gender dysphoria do not persist in their gender dysphoric conditions past early adulthood.”
The policy states that treatments such as hormone replacement therapy or genital surgeries currently used for children with gender dysphoria have “permanent and irreversible effects on children” and that “large-scale studies have tracked people who received gender-related medical care as children to determine how many remained satisfied with their treatment as they aged and how many eventually regretted transitioning.”
“On the contrary, the General Assembly is aware of statistics showing a rising number of such individuals who, as adults, have regretted undergoing such treatment and the permanent physical harm it caused,” per SB 140.
The bill states minors who identify as transgender or are experiencing gender dysphoria can be treated with counseling rather than hormones or therapies in order to uphold a “do no harm” standard of care. Notably, the bill does permit doctors to prescribe puberty blockers to minors.
There are expectations included for children who have a sexual development disorder, an injury or an infection.
“This is simply saying this is a pause and we are asking children to be 18 years or older before they make a decision that will alter their lives forever,” said state Senator Carden Summers, the Republican who sponsored the bill, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitutional.
Democrats in the Senate objected to the bill, saying prohibiting hormonal or surgical treatments would cause minors experiencing gender dysphoria to suffer.
“If this bill passes, and it probably will, some desperate kids are going to feel more desperate,” state Senator Sally Harrell, who has a transgender child, said prior to the vote. “Some parents are going to be angry. And I’ll be honest, some parents are going to secretly breathe a sigh of relief because it will slow things down.”
“Broadly speaking this really is about us bullying children to score political points, and that to me is extraordinarily disheartening,” said Senator Kim Jackson.
Andrew Isenhour, a spokesman for the governor, would not confirm if the Republican will sign SB 140 into law, per AP News.
The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it will sue should the bill become law.
“The Georgia Legislature has once again chosen to place politics before patient care. The politicians who passed SB 140 are interfering with the rights of Georgia parents to get life-saving medical treatment for their children and preventing physicians from properly caring for their patients,” said Cory Isaacson, the chapter’s legal director, per The Center Square. “The ACLU of Georgia and our partners will now consider all available legal options in order to protect the rights of parents, young people, and medical providers in our state.”
Minors who have begun hormone treatments before July 1 – the day the new law would go into effect – will be permitted to continue.