COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Legislation that would restrict access to gender-affirming care for minors is up for discussion at the South Carolina State House.
S.267 was introduced in the Senate about two weeks ago. Currently, 25 out of the 30 Senate Republicans are co-sponsors of the bill.
A Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee listened to about two hours of testimony from those in support and against the legislation Thursday morning.
The bill would prohibit gender transition procedures for anyone under 18 in South Carolina.
“This doesn’t prevent anybody from having a gender reassignment surgery or taking hormone blockers as an adult. This is all about protecting the innocence of kids,” said Sen. Josh Kimbrell (R-Spartanburg).
The legislation would also require school staff to notify parents if they learn their child is transgender.
“Children who experience discomfort with their biological sex deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Matt Sharp, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom. “They need compassionate and effective mental health care. But radical activists and profit driven gender clinics have deceived children and parents alike into believe unnatural, life altering and even permanent sterilizing hormone blockers are a solution to their struggles.”
Critics said the bill would interfere with the medical decisions of parents and their children in South Carolina. They also say the legislation is not necessary because gender reassignment surgeries are not being performed on children in the state.
President of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Elizabeth Mack said a ban on gender-affirming care goes against medical standards.
Jen Bennett, a licensed professional counselor in South Carolina, told lawmakers a ban would increase suicidal ideation among transgender youth in the state.
“This bill if passed will not protect kids and it will not help kids. It will hurt them and likely result in the loss of their life. The loss of life if this bill becomes law will be on lawmakers hands,” Bennett said.
The subcommittee did not take any action on the bill Thursday but plan to hold another subcommittee meeting next week to hear from more people.