Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) signed a ban on trans youth receiving gender-affirming health care yesterday. Unlike those in other states, the new law does not include puberty blockers.
S.B. 140 would revoke the licenses of medical professionals who administer surgeries or hormone replacement therapy for transgender people under the age of 18. The law creates an exemption for cisgender youth; they are allowed gender-affirming care to conform to their sex assigned at birth.
“Governor Kemp should be ashamed of himself — taking life-saving care away from vulnerable youth is a disgusting and indefensible act,” said HRC’s Cathryn Oakley in the statement. “This law harms transgender youth and terrorizes their families, but helps no one.”
The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all rejected claims that gender-affirming care harms transgender children or adults.
Kemp said that the bill would “safeguard” children.
“As Georgians, parents, and elected leaders, it is our highest responsibility to safeguard the bright, promising futures of our kids – and SB 140 takes an important step in fulfilling that mission,” he said.
Democrats opposed the law.
“S.B. 140 will outlaw the care necessary to save children’s lives,” Georgia state Rep. Nikema Williams (D) said. “It is not only cruel, but it flies in the face of medical science, standards of patient care, and the lived experiences of those whom it impacts.”
“Kids will commit suicide. Kids will feel like they’re not being heard, that their basic existence is being invalidated and erased,” said state Sen. Josh McLaurin (D).
Some Republicans in Georgia – including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, argued that the bill doesn’t go far enough. She cited how the bill doesn’t include puberty blockers, which are life-saving medications used to delay the permanent effects of puberty so that trans kids, their families, and medical professionals can better understand their identities and needs. Puberty blockers are reversible; if one stops taking them, puberty happens. Greene said they “permanently alter the bodies of these confused children,” which is untrue.
The ACLU of Georgia has already said that it’s considering a lawsuit.
“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,” said Cory Isaacson of the ACLU of Georgia, adding that the state is “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.”