(UnitedVoice.com) – At the beginning of June, Louisiana’s legislature passed the “Stop Harming Our Kids Act” (HB 648). The bill banned gender-affirming care in the state. The governor vetoed the bill on June 29. Three weeks later, Republicans took action.
On July 18, the legislature met to discuss HB 648. The Republican-controlled House and Senate then voted to overturn Governor John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto. The law will now go into effect on January 1, 2024.
According to the bill, individuals under 18 will no longer have access to gender reassignment surgery, puberty blockers, or other hormone treatments. The state joins nearly two dozen others that have banned transgender kids from receiving medical interventions. Major medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, endorse the treatments. Republicans, however, are worried that the care could permanently damage children who might just be going through a phase.
Gabe Firment, the GOP lawmaker who wrote the bill, stated that he was just following the lead of “every single southern state.” He said, “We cannot allow Louisiana to become a sanctuary state for the sterilization of innocent children.”
Democratic Rep. Jason Hughes told the press that sex change surgeries weren’t happening in the state, so the bill wasn’t necessary. He pointed to data from the state Department of Health that reportedly no kids had the surgery from 2017 to 2021.
Firment explained that if his state had not passed the law and overrode the veto, he feared Louisiana would become a gender-affirming care destination for all minors in the South.
Edwards responded to the veto, saying it “needlessly harms a very small population of vulnerable children,” doctors, and families. He went on to say that he thinks the courts will stop the legislation from going into effect.
Judges in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and Florida have declared similar laws unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
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