The Georgia House of Representatives has approved legislation prohibiting minors from obtaining transition-related health care services, a move that has been decried by civil liberties advocates as a severe infringement on civil rights.
The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 92-78, seeks to prohibit minors from accessing any health care services related to gender transition, including surgeries, puberty blockers, and hormone treatments. The bill would also make it a criminal act for any medical provider to offer such services to minors.
The legislation has been heavily criticized by civil rights groups, who argue that it violates the rights of transgender people and their families to make informed decisions about their health care. Transgender youth, in particular, can benefit from transition-related health care, which can help them to live more comfortably in their gender identity.
“This bill is an egregious attack on the rights of transgender youth and their families,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. “It is a direct attack on the autonomy and dignity of young people, and will have a devastating impact on their ability to get the health care they need.”
The bill has also been slammed by medical professionals, who have warned that it could have serious consequences for the health and well-being of transgender youth.
“This bill will have a chilling effect on medical care for transgender youth and could have unintended consequences that could be harmful,” said Dr. Jack Turban, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Harvard Medical School. “We already know that transgender youth experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality, and this bill could make those rates even worse.”
The bill now heads to the Georgia Senate for a final vote. If passed, it would be the first law of its kind in the United States.