March 23, 2023

House GOP rejects amendments to halt forcibly de-transitioning transgender youth

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House Republicans voted down every amendment. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

House Republicans voted down every amendment.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

House Republicans rejected an amendment to protect transgender youth from being forcibly de-transitioned by the state. The bill to ban medicinal and surgical gender-affirming care for transgender youth includes a six-month deadline to halt puberty blockers and hormone therapy treatments.

During earlier testimony on Senate Bill 480, several transgender adolescents, young adults and their parents said if the measure was passed, they would have to leave the state.

Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) authored a handful of amendments, including one that would allow transgender youth who are already receiving hormone therapies and puberty blockers to continue to receive that care.

“They’re thriving in school, they’re thriving in work, they’re able to relate to other members in their peer group,” Shackleford said.

Gender-affirming care is health care that encompasses mental, social, medical and surgical care designed to treat gender dysphoria. There is national and international guidance on age-appropriate treatment.

Rep. Joanna King (R-Middlebury), one of the bill’s House sponsors, called the treatments “unproven” and “harmful” because they lack Food and Drug Administration approval. The pharmaceutical companies who produce the drugs have not requested FDA approval for gender-affirming care, though the treatments are approved for other uses. Doctors said the side effects are similar to other kinds of medications, and providers in Indiana said there are mechanisms already in place to make sure side effects are treated efficiently.

READ MORE: What is gender-affirming care?

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Shackleford authored three other amendments: one to remove the ban on medicinal care; one also removing the ban, but adding a sign-off from parents and medical professionals; and one to create a civil cause of action for children harmed by the ban.

Rep. Renee Pack (D-Indianapolis) said during discussion on one of the amendments that the legislature is hypocritical in its position on parental rights.

“There’s times where we want parents to have their say. We want parents’ thoughts to be considered. And then there’s times we want to say, ‘listen to us,’” Pack said.

After three amendments had already been voted down, Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) asked the chamber if Shackleford was the only person who cared about transgender issues, calling the silence “deafening.”

“We are arrogating to ourselves medical decisions. We are taking those decisions away from doctors and parents,” DeLaney said.

House Republicans voted down every amendment.

Lauren is our digital editor. Contact her at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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