South Carolina: 25th State to Enforce Gender-Affirming Care Age Restrictions

Last week, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced that he would sign a law that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors in the state, and advocacy groups are scrambling to fight it.

The 25th State

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After the ceremonial bill signing, South Carolina will become the 25th state to ban gender-affirming care in the United States, as this type of care has come under public scrutiny.

Stopping Healthcare Professionals

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This new law will effectively stop healthcare professionals from performing gender-transition surgeries, prescribing puberty blockers, and overseeing hormone treatments for individuals under 18.

Notifying Parents

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The law will also force School principals and vice-principals to notify the parents of a child who wishes to use a name, nickname, or pronouns that do not match their sex assigned at birth.

Unsupportive Families

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Forcing schools to inform parents about their children’s changing gender identity is an especially controversial move within the LGBTQ+ community since so many have dealt with unsupportive families.

Filing a Lawsuit

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As a result, many LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, like the Campaign for Southern Equality, are considering filing a lawsuit against the state to challenge the new law.

Discussing Banned Treatments

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Despite the strict bans, before the bill was passed, the Senate did make an amendment that will allow mental health counselors to discuss banned treatments and suggest where these treatments are legal.

Guiding Outside the State

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The amendment also allows Doctors to prescribe puberty blockers for conditions such as precocious puberty to provide some leeway for healthcare professionals attempting to guide patients to legal alternatives outside the state.

Seeking Care Out of State

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The law will take effect immediately, which has caused many advocacy groups to mobilize resources and help families seeking care outside South Carolina.

Condemning the Law

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Executive Director of Uplift Outreach Center, Raymond Velazquez, condemned the law and emphasized people’s right to healthcare while highlighting his concern for transgender youth in South Carolina.

A Human right

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Velazquez said, “Healthcare is a human right – and it breaks my heart to see lawmakers rip away life-affirming and often life-saving medical care from transgender youth in South Carolina.”

Defending the Law 

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However, Governor McMaster was quick to defend the law for its attempts at protecting minors from making irreversible decisions that could impact their future health and well-being.

A Different Story

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McMaster said, “If they want to make those decisions later when they’re adults, then that’s a different story, but we must protect our young people from irreversible decisions.”

Refuting the Claims

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During the legislative process, parents and doctors tried to refute these ideas and testified that minors in South Carolina do not receive gender-transition surgeries and that hormone treatments are only provided after extensive consultation.

Testifying Medical Experts

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In their testimonies, Medical experts testified that gender-affirming treatments are essential for the mental health and overall well-being of transgender youth who suffer from greater rates of depression and suicide.

More Fulfilling Lives

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In one medical expert’s testimony, they said, “the treatments can be life-saving, allowing young transgender people to live more fulfilling lives.”

Unpublished Evidence

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However, supporters of the new ban cited unpublished evidence that suggests that puberty blockers might increase self-harm and have potentially irreversible effects.

Continuing Advocacy

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Organizations, such as the Campaign for Southern Equality, are supporting transgender rights and have vowed to continue their advocacy and support efforts despite the new law.

Reassuring Transgender Youth

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After the new law was passed, Executive Director of the Harriet Hancock Center, Cristina Picozzi, attempted to reassure the transgender of their inherent dignity and worth, regardless of the law.

You Are Worthy

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Picozzi said, “To all of the young people in South Carolina and their parents who are reading this news and feeling fear for the future, please know: no law can change the fact that you are worthy of dignity, equality, joy, and respect.”

The post South Carolina 25th State to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Minors first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Katya Rekina.