North Carolina is one step closer to banning teens from receiving life-saving gender-affirming surgery – even with a parent’s consent – following the state House’s passage of House Bill 808 earlier this month.
The bill, known as the Youth Health Protection Act, is just one of a handful of anti-trans bills currently before the legislature and has drawn the ire of opponents, doctors and LGBTQ+ advocates. In addition to banning life-saving care for transgender youth, the bill would also block the use of state funds for any gender transition-related medical care.
According to WRAL, state Rep. Ken Fontenot (R-Wilson), a co-sponsor of the bill, argued that the bill is necessary because there’s no empirical proof that puberty blockers and other gender-affirming care work. This is easily proven wrong by spending less than 10 seconds looking online for research on the subject.
In addition to Fontenot’s lack of effort in supporting his own argument, he also went on to compare gender-affirming care to the Tuskegee medical experiments of the 1930s and the sterilization of poor women in North Carolina in the 1960s, WRAL reported. Aside from this argument being highly offensive, it’s not even a remotely good comparison and it in no way supports his reasoning for the bill. Fontenot is comparing voluntary, life-saving medical treatment to medical experiments that were forced upon (mostly Black) people in North Carolina and Alabama more than 60 years ago. The only similarity between them is that all three involve the government getting involved in people’s lives where they shouldn’t be.
Fontenot also said that “social contagion” is the reason for the increasing number of transgender teens, according to WRAL. He said that most transgender people have other mental and physical health issues that are likely the cause of their dysphoria.
Democrats took issue with his comments but were not able to address them because there were no questions or comments allowed during the May 2 health committee hearing. Neither committee members nor members of the public in attendance were allowed to speak.
Chairwoman Rep. Erin Paré (R-Wake) told those at the hearing that there was no time for questions or comments.
Following the committee’s voice vote, members of the public in attendance chanted “Shame!” and “Let us speak!” One woman yelled out to lawmakers, “You’re killing my kid” and another told them that they have “Blood on [their] hands.”
House Bill 808 passed a House health committee hearing on May 2 and then passed the full House on May 3 by a 74-44 vote.
Following its passage in the House, the legislation was sent to the state Senate where it has been referred to the Rules and Operations Committee.