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Georgia bans treatments for trans minors; S.C. considers it

Augusta-Aiken WRDW-TV logo Augusta-Aiken WRDW-TV 3/24/2023 Staff and wire reports
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Georgia will ban most gender-affirming surgeries and hormone replacement therapies for transgender people younger than 18, and South Carolina is considering doing so.

Georgia’s legislation was signed into law Thursday by Brian Kemp, and South Carolina’s version is getting a hearing next week.

Georgia legislators’ approval Tuesday came despite impassioned pleas from Democrats and LGBTQ advocates against what has become the most fiercely contested bill of Georgia’s 2023 legislative session.

MORE | ‘Imagine being a young trans person:’ Legislation raises mental health concerns

Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill in private.

“I appreciate the many hours of respectful debate and deliberation by members of the General Assembly that resulted in final passage of this bill,” Kemp said in a statement. “As Georgians, parents and elected leaders, it is our highest responsibility to safeguard the bright, promising future of our kids — and SB 140 takes an important step in fulfilling that mission.”

Opponents say they believe the new law is an unconstitutional infringement on parents’ rights. Supporters contend it would protect some minors from medical procedures they might later regret.

Doctors would still be able to prescribe medicines to block puberty under the Georgia law, which takes effect July 1. It also says that minors who are already receiving hormone therapy will be allowed to continue.

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That’s not the case with the legislation in South Carolina, where a majority of the state Senate has signed on as sponsors of the legislation – all of them Republicans.

“This is not a bill about hating anybody. This is not a bill that restricts the right of any adult to do what he or she so desires or chooses with their lives,” said South Carolina Sen. Josh Kimbrell, R-Spartanburg.

In addition to banning these procedures for minors, the bill would also prohibit the use of state funds directly or indirectly on these procedures for anyone, including adults.

South Carolina pediatricians told senators this week that this care is what national medical associations recommend for kids and teens with gender dysphoria.

“The truth is that this is the safe way to care for children, and so if we’re protecting children, gender-affirming care is the way to go,” said Dr. Elizabeth Mack, pediatric intensive care unit physician.

A South Carolina Senate subcommittee plans to hear more testimony on this bill from the public at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

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