Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has vetoed a bill that aimed to protect children from transgender gender-change surgeries and other medical procedures, such as administering cross-sex hormones to minors. The bill, known as the “Stop Harming Our Kids Act,” was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature in early June.
The bill sought to ban hormone treatments, puberty-blocking drugs, and gender reassignment surgery for minors. These treatments, including double mastectomies for girls identifying as boys, have been criticized by opponents as forms of mutilation. Republicans like Louisiana state Senator Jeremy Stine expressed concern that vetoing the bill would send a negative message to children. Stine emphasized that children should be loved and valued just as they are created by God.
Governor Edwards, however, vetoed the bill on June 29, as he explained in a six-page letter addressed to the Republican Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, Clay Schexnayder. In the letter, Edwards argued that the bill threatened specialists’ professional licenses, undermined parental rights in healthcare decisions for children with gender dysphoria, and amounted to an assault on psychologically distressed children. Edwards also highlighted that there was no evidence of any gender-change surgeries being performed in Louisiana between 2017 and 2021. He claimed that the bill addressed a non-existent problem while restricting access to necessary medication and other less invasive medical interventions for children with gender dysphoria.
Although Edwards acknowledged that he agreed with the prohibition of transgender surgeries, he argued that the bill’s provisions didn’t align with its stated intent. He criticized the lack of clarity regarding which specific medical interventions would be subject to penalties or revocation of licenses, deeming the bill “ripe for a veto.”
As a result of Edwards’ veto, the existing regulations in Louisiana regarding transgender procedures for children remain unchanged. Currently, individuals under 18 are required to obtain parental consent before accessing hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and other treatments for gender dysphoria.
The issue of gender-reassignment treatments has become a contentious topic in state legislatures across the United States, with lawmakers from both parties advocating for either the advancement or restriction of these medical procedures. At least 19 states have passed laws that protect minors from transgender surgeries and related procedures. Supporters refer to these procedures as “gender-affirming care,” while opponents argue that gender dysphoria should be addressed with psychological solutions rather than physical interventions, which they view as harmful to children’s developing bodies.
In recent years, organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have increasingly promoted and used puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender transition surgeries for minors. However, some healthcare professionals, including Dr. Julia Mason from the AAP, claim that the push for these interventions is primarily driven by political motivations and profit-making.
Dr. Jeff Barke, a primary care physician and member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, also believes that support for the transgender movement is politically contrived. He argues that performing gender transition surgeries on minors is a form of child abuse and should be illegal. Barke contends that while Europe is moving towards more freedom, the United States is heading towards more socialism and totalitarianism.
In conclusion, Governor Edwards’ veto of the “Stop Harming Our Kids Act” in Louisiana has sparked debates regarding the appropriate medical interventions for minors with gender dysphoria. The issue of transgender procedures for children remains a contentious topic nationwide, with varying perspectives on the best approach to support these individuals while ensuring their physical and mental well-being.