NC legislature overrides Cooper, blocks youth sex changes | Eastern North Carolina Now

On Aug. 16, supermajorities in both the North Carolina House and Senate overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto on House Bill 808, Gender Transition/Minors, along with five other bills.

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is David Larson.

    On Aug. 16, supermajorities in both the North Carolina House and Senate overrode Gov. Roy Cooper's veto on House Bill 808, Gender Transition/Minors, along with five other bills. H.B. 808 now becomes state law and will prevent those under 18 from receiving experimental sex-change treatments.

    "It shall be unlawful for a medical professional to perform a surgical gender transition procedure on a minor or to prescribe, provide, or dispense puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones to a minor," the bill states.

    Those currently receiving treatment will be grandfathered in, though. H.B. 808 states that medical professionals "shall not be prohibited from continuing or completing a course of treatment for a minor that includes a surgical gender transition procedure, or the administration of puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones" that commenced prior to Aug. 1, 2023, as long as the parents, children, and medical professional all deem it to be in the child's best interest.

    The new law also creates penalties for medical professionals in violation, including the revoking of their medical license and being opened up to civil suits from patients. In addition, HB 808 bans any use of state funds for minor sex-change treatments.

    In the Senate, the override vote went directly along party lines, with no Democrat voting to override and no Republican voting to sustain. In the House, however, moderate Democrats Rep. Garland Pierce of Scotland County and Michael Wray of Northampton County voted with Republicans to override.

    "In some of the most liberal parts of the country, children are allowed to permanently alter their bodies with off-label drugs for the purpose of changing their sex," said state Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, in a press release after the override. "While Republicans are protecting minors from such absurd open-door policies, Democrats are siding with the furthest left of their base and putting politics ahead of documented medical risks and consequences. We need to take a cautious approach and limit access to these life-altering medical procedures, and today's vote to override Gov. Cooper's veto does just that."

    House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, released a press statement on all the overrides, saying, "While Governor Cooper has tried to stand between parents and their kids, today the N.C. House will continue to affirm parent's rights, protect female athletes, and advocate for the health and safety of our children."

    Democrats and left-leaning organizations in the state were less enthusiastic about H.B. 808 becoming law, using the hashtag "#shame" on social media.

    The controversy over youth sex-change operations and hormone treatments, often called "gender-affirming care," has exploded onto the scene in recent years. Gender dysphoria, the sense that one's biological sex and one's gender identity do not match, went from being a rare condition in mostly males to a much more common condition in mostly females.

    In Europe, after a time heading in the same fairly open direction to youth sex changes as the United States, they've had second thoughts.

    The United Kingdom shut down its main youth gender center, the Tavistock Clinic, after it was determined youth were "at considerable risk" because of the clinic's "unquestioning affirmative approach" to transitioning. They also found that while autistic people made up around 1% of society at large, they made up around 1/3 of patients at the clinic. Similar results have been found at other clinics, leading critics to wonder if social difficulties experienced by autistic people make them more at risk for gender confusion.

    Sweden, Finland, and Norway, once considered the most pioneering in pro-LGBTQ+ laws, are also now backtracking, largely banning the treatments for minors after a review of the data, as North Carolina just did.

    In North Carolina, a number of gender clinics have popped up in recent years, including at prominent hospital systems like UNC Health and Duke Health. Both have clinics specifically set up to deal with youth gender-affirming care. Planned Parenthood has also given out puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

    Duke Health's Child and Adolescent Gender Care Clinic was considered a national leader in the field, but they, along with similar clinics will likely shut down after treating the patients grandfathered in whose treatments began prior to Aug. 1.

    At a Duke Gender Health symposium in 2022, Marci Bowers, the current president of WPATH (which sets the global standards for transgender care), admitted that the practices are fairly experimental, and long-term data has not emerged because it's a new field.

    Bowers went on to say that the biggest questions are how to create skin in males whose puberties have been blocked so that a neo-vagina can be crafted later, and how to ensure that the children will later be able to have orgasms, since "really about zero" of them will ever have an orgasm if they're treated under the current methods.

    The new law is below for readers to review:


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