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HomeWORLD NEWSIn A Hearing On Gender-Affirmative Care, Legislators Discuss Parental Rights

In A Hearing On Gender-Affirmative Care, Legislators Discuss Parental Rights

On Thursday, Republicans attempted to refute transgender advocates’ claims that gender-affirming care is a personal health care decision.

Conservative bans on access represent hypocrisy on the part of traditionally limited-government Republicans, according to the LGBTQ+ community.

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This year, Kellan Baker, executive director of the Whitman-Walker Institute, a network of LGBTQ-focused service providers, told STAT, “There needs to be a greater emphasis on freedom—the ability of any individual, young person, or parent to make the right decisions for themselves, their families, and their children.”

During a Thursday hearing before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary, Republicans fought to discredit this argument.

“By nature, the family is the most foundational governing unit established. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-California) argued that all gender-affirming care for minors should require parental consent, contending that parents have a fundamental, natural right to raise their children in accordance with their own best judgment.

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However, this restriction is not being debated in many states. Regardless of parental wishes, 21 states have passed bans on gender-affirming care for minors, and seven more are considering doing the same, according to a Human Rights Campaign tracker.

Democrats were eager to highlight the distinction.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pennsylvania) stated, “The notion that politicians are more qualified to judge the medical value or necessity of gender-affirming care than every major medical organization is absurd.” “Holding a hearing to substitute far-right ideologies for parental judgment reveals the blatant hypocrisy of the party that claims to value individual liberty and limited government.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York), the ranking Democrat on the committee, labeled the hearing an “all-time low” for Republicans.

Chloe Cole, a woman who had detransitioned, and Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer who competed alongside Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, provided lawmakers with emotive testimony. In addition, they heard from experts who highlighted research demonstrating the substantial mental health benefits of gender-affirming care and the therapy patients undergo when contemplating transitioning.

The narrative of Cole is “the exception, not the rule,” according to Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “We know that 98% of young people who receive these treatments continue to receive them into adulthood.”

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Recently, House Republicans affixed gender-affirming care limitations to the 2024 health department spending bill. The provision would prohibit Medicare, TRICARE, and Medicaid from paying for hormone therapies and gender-affirming surgical procedures with federal funds. In addition to the hundreds of bills introduced in state legislatures to restrict transgender health care and athletic participation, Democrats have vowed to oppose this ban.

Republican candidates for president in 2024, including Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have also pledged to restrict transgender rights nationwide.

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) stated, “What we’ve seen today is what we’ve seen this entire Congress: an effort by my Republican colleagues—and some of the most extreme voices in the Republican Party—to keep Americans on a treadmill of anger.”

The topic appears to resonate with conservatives. 63% of Republican parents surveyed in March by NPR, PBS, and Marist support criminalizing gender-affirming care for adolescents.

However, moderate and independent support for gender-affirming care has increased over the past year, according to the same survey. In March, 56 percent of independent voters opposed criminalizing gender-affirming care for juveniles, up from 45 percent in June of last year, according to an NPR/Ipsos poll. The proportion of Democrats who oppose limits remained constant at roughly 70%.

States’ bans and suggested limits “exclude a specific group of people, transgender youth, in order to deny them medical care,” said Minter. “This has never been done before in this country.”




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