California to become haven for young transgender people seeking gender-affirming health care – The Hill

The story at a glance

  • On Wednesday, California lawmakers passed legislation to protect transgender youth and their families from lawsuits from other states if they travel to California to receive gender-affirming health care.

  • The measure, introduced by California Senator Scott Wiener (D), would prohibit state health care providers, insurance companies or contractors from disclosing information about a transgender minor or their parents in response to a “criminal or civil action” based on the laws of another state.

  • The legislation is now heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) office for final approval.

A California bill that would make the state a haven for transgender children and their families is on its way to the governor’s office after receiving final approval from the legislature Wednesday afternoon.

The measure, introduced in May by California Senator Scott Wiener (D), would protect transgender minors who have traveled to California to receive gender-affirming health care, and their families, from lawsuits brought by other other states where treatments including puberty blockers and hormones are illegal or heavily regulated.

In February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (right) ordered state agencies to initiate child protection investigations into parents of transgender children who had received gender-affirming medical care, in response to a non-legally binding opinion issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) that claimed certain forms of gender-affirming healthcare constituted ‘child abuse’ under US law State.

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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (right) signed into law a measure in April that makes it a crime – punishable by up to a decade in prison – for doctors and others to provide medical gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth under the age of 19, writing in a signature statement that children must be protected from “those life-altering drugs and drastic operations when they are at such a vulnerable stage of their lives. “.

In March, Arizona also enacted a measure banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth, but limited its scope to gender-affirming surgeries, which are not recommended for minors.

Other states, including Idaho this year, have introduced — but failed to pass — legislation that would have made it a crime to provide gender-affirming health care to a minor or leave the state. State for the purpose of obtaining gender-affirming care.

Leading medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association, have declared gender-affirming health care for transgender minors and adults to be safe, medically necessary, and often lifesaving. .

Under Wiener law, California health care providers, insurance companies and contractors will be prohibited from disclosing information relating to a person or entity that provides affirmation medical care. gender to a minor in response to a “criminal or civil action” based on the laws of another state.

“California must stand with LGBTQ children and their families, especially when they are under attack across the country,” Wiener said earlier this month in a statement. “Parents should never be separated from their children or criminalized for simply allowing them to be who they are. We must stand firm in our support of the LGBTQ community and support LGBTQ youth.”

The measure, which is co-sponsored by the nonprofit groups Equality California and Planned Parenthood and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D), is now heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) office for final approval.

If enacted, the legislation would limit the ability of state law enforcement to make an arrest or assist in the extradition of a parent who traveled to California with their minor child to receive gender-affirming healthcare from a state where it is illegal.

“An out-of-state arrest warrant for an individual based on violation of the law of another state against providing, receiving, or allowing their child to receive gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care is the lowest priority in law enforcement,” the bill reads.

State law enforcement will also be prohibited from enforcing orders from other states that allow a child to be removed from their parent or guardian because they have been authorized to receive health care affirming their sex in California.

At least 16 other states have pledged to introduce similar legislation.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed into law a law last month that protects access to gender-affirming health care under the state constitution and prevents state agencies from complying with extradition requests from other states pursuing criminal charges against persons who received, aided, or performed lawful medical treatment in Massachusetts.

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