West Virginia GOP lawmakers adopt a law banning transgender health care.
Gov. Jim Justice is about to sign a bill that would outlaw providing evidence-based medical care for transgender adolescents in West Virginia.
Charlotte, West Virginia In West Virginia, the state with the highest estimated per capita population of transgender adolescents in the US, a bill that would outlaw providing evidence-based healthcare to transgender minors is on its way to Governor Jim Justice’s desk.
It’s uncertain whether the Republican governor would sign the bill into law because he hasn’t publicly stated his opinion on it. He was unavailable for comment on Saturday, according to a spokeswoman.
West Virginia, according to a 2017 report by UCLA Law’s The Williams Center, had the highest per capita prevalence of transgender adolescents in the nation.
Gender-affirming care for children is supported by every major medical group, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association.
Yet, lawmakers in West Virginia and other states who support restrictions on transgender health care for children and young people frequently describe gender-affirming therapies as unproven medical practices, long-term risks, and signs of “woke” culture.
The West Virginia legislation would forbid the prescription of hormone therapy and fully reversible drugs for delaying the physical changes associated with puberty to anybody under the age of 18, giving patients and parents time to decide whether or not to pursue hormone therapy in the future.
Medical experts highlight that gender-affirming surgery for minors is not performed in West Virginia anyway, but the measure also includes a prohibition on this practice.
Significant exceptions to the prohibition on pharmacological therapy for minors who are at risk of committing suicide are included in the bill; these clauses were inserted during the final week of the 60-day legislative session, which ended on Saturday.
The modifications, which were made at the insistence of Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, a doctor, would permit some transgender children and teenagers to continue getting medical treatments in specific situations, including as hormone therapy if they suffer from severe gender dysphoria.
Medical experts define gender dysphoria as the significant psychological anguish felt by people whose gender identity differs from the sex given to them at birth.
The rates of suicide thoughts and suicide attempts among young people with severe gender dysphoria who have access to pharmacological therapy have significantly decreased, according to 17 peer-reviewed publications cited by Takubo during a speech on the Senate floor late on Friday night.
He stated, “These kids suffer and face extraordinary challenges.
According to research conducted by West Virginia University Medicine physicians using data from the West Virginia Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the rate of transgender youth in Virginia who have suicidal ideation, or suicidal thoughts or ideas, is three times higher than the rate for all youth in the state.
There were no exceptions for mental health in the version of the bill that was initially approved by West Virginia’s Republican supermajority House of Delegates last month.
The modifications made by the Senate were endorsed by the House on Saturday. The reduced number of Democrats in the body’s delegation cast all of the “no” votes as the modified bill passed 88–10 at that point.