Senate committee passes bill that would ban gender transition services for minors

H.B. 470 passed the House on March 2.
Kentucky legislatures to vote on House Bill 470 on Tuesday morning in Frankfort.
Kentucky legislatures to vote on House Bill 470 on Tuesday morning in Frankfort.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:00 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 3:01 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WXIX) - A Kentucky House Bill that could place a state-wide ban on gender transition services for minors is headed to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon.

The Senate Families & Children Committee passed out House Bill 470, known by supporters as “an act relating to the protection of children,” in a 6-3 vote.

“We all wanna do what’s best for our kids and I don’t think there is any question about that,” Committee Chairman Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Benton) said. “I’m extremely uncomfortable putting myself where a doctor should be.

“I don’t like the bill, I hate the tone of the bill, [...] and I’m in the process of working on some changes to this bill.”

Medical professionals and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum spoke on behalf of H.B. 470 as well as against it.

Opposers of H.B. 470

Former Rep. Jerry Miller (R-Louisville) told the committee on Tuesday that the bill not only violates parents’ rights but also has “become personal” to him after his 7-year-old grandchild told him she felt like a girl on the inside.

“The government has no compelling interest here in violating parents’ rights,” Miller said to the committee. “Where is Kentucky’s compelling government interest in parents protecting their child’s safety and happiness?

“This [H.B. 470] has a real impact on my [grandchild],” he said.

Following Miller’s statement was former Rep. Bob Heleringer (R-Louisville) who called the bill “beneath the dignity of the high office.”

“We’re isolating transgender children. I heard Senator Wise say parents are [wanting] this kind of legislation. Where are they?” He asked. “Nobody came to Frankfort and said ‘we need a bill like this.’ You’re doing it because you can. You don’t like these groups of people - you don’t understand them.”

While some opponents of the bill are concerned about parental rights and the social effects, some medical professionals are concerned the suicide rate will increase in transgender minors who do not receive gender-affirming treatments.

Jefferson County special resource teacher for psychiatric children Dr. Bobby Glass explained to the committee the concern she has for trans youth.

“None of this [suicide statistics] has phased you [supporters of the bill],” she said. “You’re forcing these kids into early graves.”

According to the National Library of Medicine, 82% of transgender individuals have considered suicide, and the highest is among trans youth.

Dr. Laurie Grimes with the Kentucky Psychological Association reported at the hearing that trans people are four times more likely to commit suicide than others.

Supporters of H.B. 470 claim that parents can keep their children safe with this bill.

Proponents of H.B. 470

Primary bill sponsor Rep. Jennifer Deckard (R-Waddy) invited healthcare professionals and “de-transitioned” people in to discuss their experiences.

Luca Hine, a now de-transitioned individual, described how she was once a “trans kid” who struggled with a history of mental illness.

“Professionals ignored my actual issues, and led me down a path of gender transitioning,” she said. “My parents were baited and bullied and asked [by activists], ‘would you rather have a dead daughter or a trans son?’”

Mother and Dr. Jeannette Cooper with International Partners for Ethical Care, Inc., told the committee that she believes the suicide narrative is “a myth.”

“Transition or suicide - there are always more than two options,” she said. “Suicide prevention is about social and psychological supports, not surgeries.”

The Senate committee later closed the discussion and moved into voting.

Sen. Lindsey Tichenor (R-Smithfield) says she voted in favor of the bill for a few reasons.

“Frontal lobes are not developed until early-mid 20′s,” she said. “[...] at that point, you can’t undo what has been done.”

The H.B. 470 is expected to be voted on in the Senate on Tuesday.

Legislatures need the bill to pass by Thursday in order to dodge a possible veto by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

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