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NC House OKs transgender healthcare ban, 'Parents' Bill of Rights'

Eliazar Posada, an LGBTQ+ rights advocate, rallies a group of transgender people and their supporters after a committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
Hannah Schoenbaum
/
AP
Eliazar Posada, an LGBTQ+ rights advocate, rallies a group of transgender people and their supporters after a committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

Legislation to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender people under age 18 is headed to Gov. Roy Cooper.

The House voted mostly along party lines Wednesday to give final approval to a bill restricting hormone treatments and surgery for transgender youth. A previous version of the bill only banned surgeries, but House Republicans say they now prefer the Senate’s more restrictive ban.

Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, said the Senate's revisions to the measure made it better. Those include a provision that would allow people to sue medical providers who violate the law.

Blackwell and other supporters argue that people under the age of 18 are too young to make changes to their bodies that they might later regret.

Rep. Allison Dahle, D-Wake, says the ban will have devastating consequences for transgender kids and teens.

"You’re saying to them, 'You don’t matter, we don’t value you, we don’t care about you because you don’t need medical treatment,'" Dahle said. "'You don’t need anything, because you’re not human.'"

The governor is expected to veto the bill. An earlier version of the bill would have limited the restrictions to state-funded and state-run healthcare facilities, but the final version applies to all healthcare providers in the state.

'Parents' Bill of Rights'

The state House has approved controversial notification requirements for parents of public school students. The legislation titled the “Parents' Bill of Rights” would make curriculum and class materials more accessible to parents.

The WUNC Politics Podcast is a free-flowing discussion of what we're hearing in the back hallways of the General Assembly and on the campaign trail across North Carolina.

But it also would require teachers to notify parents if their child wants to use a different gender pronoun or name at school. Opponents worry that requirement would out transgender children to parents who might not support them.

John Rustin with the socially conservative N.C. Family Policy Council spoke in favor of the bill.

"We have compassion for individuals who are struggling with identity issues and gender dysphoria," he said. "However, for a school to willfully withhold this information from parents is a breach of trust and a violation of the parent’s right to know."

House Republicans cut off debate on the bill during Wednesday's floor session, which prevented Democrats from proposing a number of amendments to tweak the bill.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for a final vote, which could take place as early as Thursday.

Colin Campbell covers politics for WUNC as the station's capitol bureau chief.
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