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Transgender surgery ban advances in North Carolina House

The bill would ban transition surgeries for people under 18 years old.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Dozens of transgender North Carolinians and their supporters spoke out against state lawmakers Tuesday as a House committee advanced legislation banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors without allowing members of the public to testify.

The audience erupted in chants of “Let us speak” and “Blood on your hands” as the Republican-controlled House Health Committee passed a proposal prohibiting healthcare providers from performing surgeries on minors to remove or alter features typical of the patient's sex assigned at birth. If the bill becomes law, North Carolina physicians would also be unable to refer a minor to another provider to receive such procedures.

While doctors sometimes provide medications for puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to young patients who are experiencing gender dysphoria, they rarely perform irreversible procedures such as genital surgery or mastectomies on minors.

The bill, which was filed last month but not taken up by the chamber until two days before a parliamentary deadline, also bans using state funds to support gender transition procedures that are surgical for people younger than 18. It's among a flood of bills the General Assembly is fast-tracking this week with little to no time for public comment. Bills that are unrelated to taxes, spending, or elections that haven’t passed one chamber by Thursday are unlikely to be considered for the rest of the biennial session.

The proposal must pass through another committee before it reaches the House floor for a vote. In both legislative chambers, Republicans hold a veto-proof supermajority.

At least 16 states have now enacted similar laws restricting or banning gender-affirming procedures for minors. Federal judges have blocked the enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas, and nearly two dozen other states are considering bills this year to restrict or ban transgender surgeries or hormone treatments.

Three states — Florida, Missouri, and Texas — have banned or restricted the treatments via regulation or administrative order, but Missouri is the only state that also limits adults' access to treatments. A judge has blocked Missouri’s restrictions through May 15.


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