Lawmakers Add Criminal, Civil Penalties for Health Care Providers; Bill to Return to Senate for Consideration of Amendment
ATLANTA — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today denounced the vote in the Georgia House to pass Senate Bill 140, legislation that will deny gender-affirming care to transgender youth in the state.
SB 140 was amended in the House to also include criminal and civil penalties for health care providers, putting a legal bullseye on the medical professionals and staff most qualified to provide support for and understand the needs of families with transgender children.
“Lawmakers — public officials selected by voters — are supposed to act in the interests of their constituents. They’re supposed to enact laws that make life better for people. SB140 does precisely the opposite – it is deeply harmful to transgender youth in Georgia,” said Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel. “By putting medical providers in legal jeopardy, the Georgia House has made an already nightmarish, discriminatory bill even worse. Decisions about care should be made between qualified medical providers, families, and the children who need care. Extremist politicians who refuse to listen to medical experts and the people most impacted should not be part of the equation. This terrible legislation needs to be stopped.”
SB 140 will return to the Senate to consider the House amendment, giving Senators an opportunity to do the right thing and rethink their earlier vote on this discriminatory legislation.
The Georgia Psychological Association recently came out in opposition to Senate Bill 140, saying “Legislative mandates that place restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare interfere with a child’s and their parents’/guardians’ autonomy in making healthcare decisions; interfere with a healthcare provider’s ability to use practice standards and relevant research to guide their work; and are at odds with the relevant research, standards of care, and clinical expertise.”
So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 410 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Approximately 180 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
More than 100 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; four have already become law, in Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah.
More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
More than 80 curriculum censorship bills and 35 anti-drag performance bills.
In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.
Get the facts about gender-affirming care:
“Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.
None of this care is irreversible.
Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
And very few transgender people change their mind.
Supported by all major medical organizations
Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents
A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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