South Carolina governor receives proposed ban on transgender treatments for minors

The House bill prohibits doctors from administering puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgeries to transgender minors.

Published: May 9, 2024 4:16pm

The South Carolina state legislature gave final approval to a bill that prohibits gender-affirming care on Thursday, sending the matter to the desk of GOP Gov. Henry McMaster.

The House bill prohibits doctors from administering puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgeries to transgender minors, according to the Hill. If signed by McMaster, it will go into full effect on January 31 for minors that already receive the treatments.

McMaster has not stated whether he would sign it, but said the ban was a "good idea" in January, in order to protect minors from making "irreversible" decisions.

“If they wanna make those decisions later when they’re adults then that’s a different story,” McMaster told WPDE-TV in January. “But we must prevent our young people from making irreversible errors.”

The measure also requires schools to notify parents if their child requests to use a different name or pronoun from the one they were assigned at birth. If the law is signed, it will make South Carolina the 25th state to limit youth access to gender-affirming care.

The law additionally bans the use of taxpayer money to fund gender-affirming care either directly or indirectly, even for adults, though the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that state health care plans and government-funded insurance programs cannot exclude such treatments.

The move was slammed by the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group, on Thursday, which claimed that the measure was a "major violation of South Carolinians’ liberty.” 

“South Carolina legislators abused their power today by substituting their judgment for that of parents, medical professionals, mental health care professionals and other experts,” Cathryn Oakley, senior director of legal policy for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "Every credible medical organization in the nation supports age-appropriate gender affirming care, which can be a life-saving treatment for LGBTQ+ youth. These decisions must remain in the hands of medical professionals and parents, not politicians."

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