(CNN) Republican lawmakers in Kentucky have passed a bill that bars transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care, allows educators to mislead students, and would not allow schools to discuss a child’s sexual orientation or identity. gender with students of all ages.
The bill, if enforced, would ban gender-affirming care for minors, such as surgery or the use of certain hormones, and calls on healthcare providers to end or fix a deadline for terminating treatment for patients who are already receiving such care.
The emotional debate over gender-affirming care for transgender students has become a political flashpoint — especially among conservatives — at a time when lawmakers across the country are proposing measures to curb LGBTQ rights.
Senate Bill 150 was delivered to the office of Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat who has expressed opposition to the measure. Republican lawmakers, however, hold the majority and could override a governor’s veto.
Beshear, at a press conference earlier this month, chastised the state legislature for focusing on the culture wars issue and challenged it to work on raising teachers’ salaries. and the extension of health care to residents.
Beshear cited polls showing that a majority of Kentuckians believe medical decisions about their children should be left to parents and their families.
“What some laws do here in Frankfurt is rip that out and say, ‘No, big government is going to tell you what’s medically best for your children. As a parent, I think that’s wrong,” Beshear said on March 2.
“When it comes to this issue, the poll doesn’t matter to me because I believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Pro Tempore chairman representative David Meade (R) . “If we want to protect children, we need to make sure that surgery or drugs that completely alter their lives and their bodies are not something we should allow until they are adults who could choose it themselves. It’s the right thing to do for these kids.”
The Kentucky branch of the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement saying the legislation was “rushed to the House floor after a hasty committee hearing where trans Kentuckians begged and pleaded for their lives, and l access to intensive care for young trans people”.
“SB150 encompasses a slew of new laws that are among the most extreme anti-trans attacks in the United States,” the ACLU statement read. The ACLU of Kentucky said it “stands ready” to fight the ban in court if it becomes law.
The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, noted the prevalence of deaths by suicide among LGBTQ youth.
“It is appalling to see Kentucky lawmakers working so quickly on dangerous legislation that will only put LGBTQ youth in Kentucky at risk,” said Troy Stevenson, director of state advocacy campaigns for The Trevor Project. “Last year, nearly half of LGBTQ youth in Kentucky seriously considered suicide – alarmingly, nearly one in four transgender and non-binary youth in the state attempted suicide. Our leaders are pushing back political issues and avoid real challenges like addressing the youth mental health crisis.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.