Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) went on a rant about Georgia’s proposed ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth – not because it would deny health care to young people, but because it doesn’t deny them enough health care.
The Georgia House and Senate voted last week to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Since the state house amended the bill, the state senate needs to pass it one more time. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is expected to sign it.
“I am so sad today,” state Rep. Karla Drenner (D) said in a floor speech opposing the bill. “What you are talking about today is somebody’s child. You are telling these parents that they are bad parents because they want to take care of their children. I believe that you mean well, but this is wrong.”
“To all the children in our state that are going to be negatively impacted, please don’t lose hope,” she said. “Please don’t give up. Please don’t kill yourself. This world is worth it. We need you.”
Greene also opposes the bill, S.B. 140, but that’s because she says it doesn’t go far enough. She said that it was written with “vague language” that can be used to overturn it and to challenge other states’ trans healthcare bans.
She then said that the bill doesn’t ban the use of 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 their needs. Puberty blockers are reversible; if one stops taking them, puberty happens. Greene said that they “permanently alter the bodies of these confused children,” which is untrue.
What is true is that S.B. 140 mentions surgery and hormone replacement therapy by name but doesn’t include puberty blockers. Most state bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth do include puberty blockers.
Last, Greene said that the bill “includes a dangerous loophole that will be exploited by profiteering doctors who are ready to cut off the breasts of girls and castrate boys.” Bottom surgery for trans women (what Greene is referring to with her reference to castrating boys) is not performed on minors, contrary to what Greene wrote. Moreover, the idea that doctors are forcing gender-affirming care on minors in order to make money is without evidence.
The “loophole” she’s referring to is that hormones or procedures used in gender-affirming care are allowed by the law if they’re for cisgender and intersex minors or in the case of “medically necessary” treatments. While it’s unclear from the text of the law exactly what could count as medically necessary – treatment for gender dysphoria is obviously medically necessary, but the spirit of the bill is that affirming trans people’s identities will be illegal – Greene thinks that allowing doctors to decide what is or isn’t “medically necessary” is too much of a risk and politicians should be the ones to decide instead.
“This means any doctor who is ready to put a child under the knife and perform permanent life-altering surgery simply has to claim it was ‘necessary’ to complete the barbaric procedure,” she wrote. “It allows the mutilation to continue under the guise of ‘medical’ necessity and doesn’t do anything to prevent dangerous hormone therapy that destroys God’s creation.”
In a follow-up tweet, Greene responded to accusations from “an Atlanta lobbyist and a few DC Republicans” that her rant could kill the bill.
“This is 100% LIES and are the same type of excuses that lead to Republican failures,” she wrote. “And the left is going to attack Republicans anyways for passing the bill with or without the loopholes, so why pander and cater to the left!”
Greene herself has introduced legislation at the federal level to ban transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care. Her bill, the Protect Children’s Innocence Act, would not only ban trans youth from getting health care but would also make it harder for trans adults to access gender-affirming care and would ban medical schools from teaching about it.
The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all rejected claims that gender-affirming care is harmful to transgender children or adults. Actual medical researchers and doctors opposing her legislation hasn’t stopped her, though. Greene has denounced medical associations that disagree with her opposition to trans health care access.
“It’s unimaginable that the American Academy of Pediatrics would support the genital mutilation of children let alone fight for it,” she tweeted last year.