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Amid A Wave of Anti-LGBTQ laws, Access to Critical Health Care Disappears

Source: NC Newsline

A wave of anti-LGBTQ+ laws has passed across the country; with Republican legislators, from around the U.S., introducing almost 500 bills so far this year. This year marks a record-shattering number of bills targeting LGBTQ+ rights.

Education and health care access bills make up the majority of these discriminatory bills. Republicans across the country, and in North Carolina, have renewed their focus on targeting access to gender-affirming care, school sports participation, and the censoring of LGBTQ+ experiences in school curriculum. 

According to a recent piece from N.C. Newsline, recent laws banning trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care have dissuaded some health care providers from offering mental health services and other medical care.

“There is a lot of misunderstanding about what the law does with regard to mental health care,” Oliver Hall, the trans health director at the Kentucky Health Justice Network, stated. “This has also obviously added to the chilling effect for mental health care providers treating trans youth.”

Vague language in anti-LGBTQ+ laws from states like Texas and Mississippi has resulted in many health care providers stopping care for trans youth and adults, or leaving the state out of concern for their safety

“[Parents] weren’t able to bring their kids to the pediatrician they were seeing before because the ban scared the pediatrician,” stated Stacie Pace, a nurse practitioner in Mississippi.

Currently, 130 bills targeting health care access have been introduced this year. Twenty-four bills have made it into law, according to the ACLU.

In North Carolina, 11 bills have been introduced by state Republicans. Five of the bills target health care access and seven target education.

In July, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed three discriminatory bills targeting LGBTQ+ youth that would ban gender-affirming health care, restrict trans youth participation in school sports and limit classroom instruction about gender identity and sexuality.

“For campaign purposes only, Republicans are serving up a triple threat of political culture wars using government to invade the rights and responsibilities of parents and doctors, hurting vulnerable children and damaging our state’s reputation and economy like they did with the harmful bathroom bill,” Cooper said in a statement about the three bills. “Instead of scheming for the next election, Republicans should get to work investing in our public schools and teachers, lowering the cost of living and creating more stability for middle-class families.”

Read more at NC Newsline

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