Louisiana will ban certain transgender procedures on people under the age of 18 after lawmakers overturned the governor’s veto of the bill.
The Stop Harming Our Kids Act, also known as HB 648 (pdf), was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature along party lines in early June, but Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, had vetoed the bill.
State lawmakers overturned Mr. Edwards’ veto of the bill at a special override session on Tuesday, which means the measure is now slated to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
Critics have decried gender reassignment surgery, which includes procedures like double mastectomies for girls who identify as boys, as a form of mutilation.
The override needed a 60 percent majority in both chambers of the legislature. The Louisiana House vote was 76-23, and the Senate House vote was 28-11.
Gender dysphoria is generally defined as distress over gender identity that doesn’t match a person’s biological sex.
‘Sent a Signal to America’
Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, praised the latest development. In a statement, he said that Louisiana now “joins all of its neighboring states in protecting children.”
“We have sent a signal to America that Louisiana intends to strengthen the family unit and to protect children from harmful gender reassignment surgeries,” he said.
“By overriding the governor’s veto of Rep. Gabe Firment’s bill, we send a clear signal that woke liberal agendas that are destructive to children will not be tolerated in Louisiana. And I’m proud of those in the Legislature who voted to make this override successful.”
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Louisiana and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast criticized the override and legislation.
“Lawmakers who voted to overturn Gov. Edwards’ veto of House Bill 648 have chosen to sacrifice the health and safety of Louisiana’s transgender children and undermine the rights of their parents,” the ACLU of Louisiana said in a statement.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast called the new legislation a “cruel, dangerous and likely unconstitutional ban on essential health care.”
Mr. Firment, a Republican, had noted in an official statement on July 14 prior to the override vote: “Every single southern state has already passed similar legislation to protect their children—we cannot allow Louisiana to become a sanctuary state for the sterilization of innocent children.”
He noted that HB 648 “simply protects kids from irreversible experimental medical interventions.”
Treating Gender-Dysphoric Youth
It comes as 21 clinicians and researchers from nine countries—Finland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, Switzerland, South Africa, and the United States—signed a letter on July 13 to say that the “best available evidence” doesn’t support treating gender dysphoria with various transgender procedures, as is being done in the United States.
“Every systematic review of evidence to date, including one published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, has found the evidence for mental-health benefits of hormonal interventions for minors to be of low or very low certainty,” the international experts wrote in their letter published in the Wall Street Journal on July 13.
Because of this, “more and more European countries and international professional organizations now recommend psychotherapy rather than hormones and surgeries as the first line of treatment for gender-dysphoric youth,” they wrote.
The experts also disputed the assertion that gender transition reduces suicides, writing, “There is no reliable evidence to suggest that hormonal transition is an effective suicide-prevention measure.”
“The politicization of transgender healthcare in the U.S. is unfortunate,” they said. “The way to combat it is for medical societies to align their recommendations with the best available evidence—rather than exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks.”
At least 20 other states have passed laws that shield minors from transgender surgeries and related procedures. Proponents of the procedures call them “gender-affirming care,” while opponents consider gender dysphoria to be a psychological issue that needs psychological solutions.
In recent years, leaders in the U.S. health care industry, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have ramped up the promotion and use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and have even recommended gender reassignment surgeries for children.
Dr. Julia Mason, a member of the AAP, told The Epoch Times in a recent interview that the push in the United States for transgender medical interventions on minors is “primarily political” and linked to profit-making.