Bill prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors passes W.Va. House

West Virginia House of Delegates meet to vote on a number of bills February 3, 2023.
West Virginia House of Delegates meet to vote on a number of bills February 3, 2023.(WSAZ)
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 11:13 AM EST
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CHALRESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After roughly an hour of debate on the West Virginia House floor, a bill prohibiting gender altering surgeries and medication for those under 18 years of age was passed by lawmakers.

The bill passed 84 to 10 Friday morning in the House chambers.

Thursday, one by one, those supporting transgender rights let their voice be heard, urging lawmakers to protect children’s access to gender affirming health care.

LGBTQ community rails against transgender bill

Eighty speakers in all stepped to the podium -- each given one minute to speak, and every speaker, except two, urged lawmakers to reject the proposal.

West Virginia lawmakers in the House Judiciary Committee voted Monday to add a ban on hormone therapy to a bill prohibiting gender-affirming surgery for minors before advancing the legislation to the full House of Delegates.

The bill was greenlit after considerable conversation during which the committee’s Democratic minority raised concerns about whether it could harm minors who already are at a greater risk for experiencing mental health challenges. One Democratic lawmaker said the legislation “bullies people.”

Republicans in support of the legislation insisted that they don’t want to harm transgender and nonbinary people. They said people should wait until they are older to make elective medical decisions that can have long-term consequences.

But Democratic Dels. Joey Garcia and Evan Hansen said they were concerned that the sponsors had not spoken to enough — or any — medical providers who actually perform gender-affirming care.

Hansen said every major national medical association has come out strongly opposed to bills barring children from accessing gender-affirming care. Data indicates that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth, according to a 2022 study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

For previous coverage of the legislation, click the links below:

LGBTQ community rails against transgender bill

West Virginia lawmakers advance ban on gender-affirming care

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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