RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With no debate or input from the public, the House Health Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would ban gender transition surgeries for minors in North Carolina.
The bill originally would have gone further, also banning gender-affirming healthcare such as puberty blockers and hormone therapies. It was amended Tuesday to be limited to surgical procedures.
“What we are calling for is relatively simple: to not resort to irreversible procedures that are dangerous before we absolutely, positively without a doubt know that they will help,” said Rep. Ken Fontenot (R-Wilson).
The bill could be up for a vote in the House as early as Tuesday evening.
It advanced out of the Health committee as lawmakers are hurrying this week to meet the so-called crossover deadline on Thursday where bills have to pass out of either the House or Senate to remain viable for the remainder of the session.
Republicans explained the bill for about 10 minutes, after which Rep. Erin Pare (R-Wake) who was chairing the meeting, said they had to hold a vote in order to leave the room on time for the next committee to start. Lawmakers were not given a chance to ask questions about it, nor were members of the public able to speak for or against it.
Katie Urban, a mother of a transgender son in Union County, shouted, “You’re killing my kid!”
Urbain said her son also has autism and has faced a lot of challenges.
“We’re finally in a good place. And, these (expletive) are trying to take it away from us right when we get to the top of the mountain,” she said after the hearing.
She said any decisions about her son’s healthcare should be between them and their medical provider.
“When, and if, my son is ready for top surgery or bottom surgery, it’s between me and his healthcare providers if that’s necessary, if that’s required, if that’s what he needs,” she said. “It’s none of their business.”
The bill is one of several introduced this session impacting transgender youth. The Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth, released a survey Monday showing nearly one in three said their mental health is poor “most of the time” or “always” in light of bills that have either been introduced or passed across the country affecting them.
Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) said the decision to have these kinds of surgeries should not be made until someone is still a minor.
“It’s a choice that should be made when the child is of age,” he said. “These kinds of procedures should wait.”
Kristin Cassell, whose child is nonbinary, criticized Republicans for advancing other bills this year regarding parental rights while also seeking to pass this bill impacting surgeries.
She said, “Republicans champion this parents’ rights stuff when they’re doing their anti-critical race theory. But, then they come in and do stuff like this and say no we don’t actually mean parents of trans kids. We can’t trust them.”