The state legislature in Kentucky has been working overtime on a new bill that would ban most transgender medical procedures for minors in the state. The deadline is looming, as all new legislation needs to be finalized by tonight when the session ends until the end of March when they will return to vote on any pending bills. You might think that a red state like Kentucky could pass a common-sense bill like this without issues, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case. Debates have broken out about just how far the bill should go, even among Republicans. And while they hold a supermajority in both chambers, they need to ensure they have enough support to override an expected veto from Democratic Governor Andy Beshear. (Associated Press)
Republican lawmakers in Kentucky struggled to wrap up a bill restricting gender-affirming care for minors, as internal differences complicated their push to beat a Thursday deadline to complete the sweeping proposal denounced by some outside voices within their party.
The Senate scaled back the bill on a razor-thin vote Wednesday night, but action then abruptly halted as the GOP-dominated chamber looked to regroup Thursday. It’s the last day lawmakers will meet until reconvening in late March for the final two days of this year’s session. Lawmakers have to complete work on the bill by Thursday to be able to override a potential veto by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.
Senate President Robert Stivers told reporters yesterday that he didn’t know for sure that they would be able to pass this bill in any form. He described the debate over transgender medical issues as being “not the easiest of subject matter topics.”
One of the more hardline (and sensible) versions of the original bill would have banned all intrusive medical procedures for pediatric patients including hormone injections, puberty blockers, and, of course, surgery. But that seems to be a bit too far for some of the more moderate Republicans. Another version that did appear to have enough support would have banned pediatric surgery, but not hormones or puberty blockers provided the parent or guardian gave written approval for it to be done.
It’s worth noting that the AP’s coverage of this story linked above includes the phrase, “reversible puberty blockers.” As we’ve discussed here in the past, that is, of course, a lie. GnRH Agonists are well known to have permanent, long-term effects on patients when used for any sustained period and they have never been approved by the FDA for use in treating gender dysphoria in pediatric patients. The FDA is also unaware of any clinical test trials being done on pediatric patients being given puberty blockers.
I’ll confess to being surprised at the difficulty the Kentucky legislature is running into with this bill. It seems like it should have been a slam dunk. They’re not talking about restricting the medical options available to adults who are capable of providing informed consent. This law would only apply to children.
Of course, half a loaf is better than none, I suppose. Even the version of the bill that would still allow the use of hormones and puberty blockers would require that parents and guardians be kept in the loop. It’s an imperfect solution because some parents have been convinced that this ongoing social contagion is somehow appropriate. But it would at least stop schools from hiding these destructive practices from parents, so it’s better than nothing.