Controversial Bill Heads to Governor's Desk South Carolina's Gender-Affirming Care Ban

Controversial Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk: South Carolina’s Gender-Affirming Care Ban

Legislation prohibiting gender-affirming care for kids received final approval from South Carolina lawmakers on Thursday. Republican governor Henry McMaster will likely sign the bill into law.

House Bill 4624, passed in South Carolina, forbids medical professionals from performing hormone therapy, puberty blockers, or surgeries on transgender kids; however, children receiving care before August 1st will be granted a “tapering off period.” By January 31st, care must end completely.

Additionally, the law forbids the use of public funds “directly or indirectly” for gender-affirming medical care. This has been criticized by LGBTQ advocacy groups as a move that will restrict transgender persons in South Carolina from utilizing Medicaid or other government programs to assist pay for their treatment.

In April, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers South Carolina, issued a ruling holding that government-funded insurance programs and state health care plans are not permitted to deny coverage for medical care that is gender affirming.

If McMaster signs the bill, South Carolina will join 24 other states, the most of which are in the South, in restricting kids’ access to care that is gender affirming.

McMaster referred to the bill as “a good idea” in January, but since then, significant modifications have been made. This month, state senators introduced a bill requiring public schools to notify parents of a student’s request to use a pronoun or name that differs from the sex given at birth.

“If they wanna make those decisions later when they’re adults then that’s a different story,” McMaster stated in January, referring to gender-affirming medical care, “but we must prevent our young people from making irreversible errors.”

While not every trans person chooses to medically transition or has access to care, gender-affirming health care is deemed safe and medically necessary for transgender adults and kids.

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The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics are among the organizations that have criticized state and federal legislation that penalize people who seek out or provide transition-related care.

“South Carolina legislators abused their power today by substituting their judgment for that of parents, medical professionals, mental health care professionals and other experts,” Cathryn Oakley, senior director of legal policy for the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group, stated. “This is a major violation of South Carolinians’ liberty.”

Another LGBTQ rights group, the Campaign for Southern Equality, announced on Thursday that it would bring a program to South Carolina that assists transgender adolescents whose access to care that is gender affirming is hampered by governmental policies.

To guarantee continuity of care, the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project initiative offers financial assistance and information to families.

“We are sending so much love, support and solidarity and want trans people in SC to know that you are loved, affirmed, and seen – and that there is an entire community ready to fight against these oppressive laws,” the group stated Thursday on X.

With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.