Georgia GOP Senate bills seek to deny gender-affirming care to minors

The sun sets behind the gold dome of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Some Republican state lawmakers want to ban medical treatment for young people experiencing gender dysphoria.

Two bills filed Thursday — Senate Bill 140, sponsored by Cordele Republican Sen. Carden Summers and others, and Senate Bill 141, sponsored by Gwinnett Republican Sen. Clint Dixon and others — are part of a larger trend seen in around a dozen states this year.  

The state Senate bills would prohibit gender-affirming medical care for young people experiencing gender dysphoria, a clinical condition where a person’s gender identity differs from their gender assigned at birth.   

“The General Assembly has an obligation to protect children, whose brains and executive functioning are still developing, from undergoing unnecessary and irreversible medical treatment,” SB 140 reads.

The proposals call for prohibiting health providers —  including school nurses and school officials — from providing medical care, such as surgeries, prescribing hormones or puberty-blocking drugs. They offer exceptions for so-called “medically necessary” or “verifiable” medical conditions.

Health providers deemed to violate the laws could face losing their professional licenses.

National medical associations with chapters in Georgia, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, support the treatment for gender dysphoria.

“Our representatives shouldn’t be playing politics with essential health care that has been proven safe and effective when there are actually pressing issues to address in our healthcare system. I would hope that all parents can agree that families deserve privacy and respect when it comes to personal healthcare decisions — decisions that should be left between families and medical providers, without political interference,” Jeff Graham, Executive Director of Georgia Equality, said in a statement.

So far, neither bill has been sent to a committee.