North Carolina became the 22nd state to ban transgender treatments for minors following the state legislature’s override of its Democratic governor’s veto.
The North Carolina General Assembly on Aug. 16 overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of House Bill 808, one of three veto overrides of bills impacting transgender youth.
Gender transition medical procedures, puberty-blocking drugs and hormone treatments for those under age 18 are now illegal in the state, and medical professionals violating the law will face revocation of their medical license.
The veto override for HB 808 passed the House 74-45 (with two votes to spare) and the Senate 27-18 (zero votes to spare). A veto override in North Carolina requires a three-fifths majority. Notably, two House Democrats, State Reps. Michael Wray and Garland Pierce, voted against the bill’s original passage in June but voted for the veto override—and against the governor from their own party.
A federal judge struck down a similar law in Arkansas, and courts have blocked the enforcement of such laws in Alabama, Florida, Indiana and Kentucky, according to the tracking site of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ lobbying group.
But increasingly, federal appeals courts are overruling activist judges and upholding parental rights and protections of children from unnecessary and irreversible medical procedures that often leave patients with severe emotional and physical scars.
In early July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld Tennessee’s law banning “gender-affirming” care for minors in the state. And earlier this month, the 11th Circuit followed suit and upheld Alabama’s law prohibiting the same.
In addition to the states named above, similar laws banning such procedures have been passed in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
North Carolina legislators also overrode Cooper’s vetoes of two additional bills impacting transgender youth.
SB 49 establishes a “parent’s bill of rights” and requires “public school units and all public school unit personnel” to “fully support and cooperate in implementing a well-planned, inclusive, and comprehensive program to assist parents and families in effectively participating in their child’s education.” It requires “age-appropriate instruction” for K-4th grade curriculum, which excludes “instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality.”
The veto override for SB 49 passed the House 72-47 and the Senate 27-18, the slimmest possible margin for the required three-fifths majority.
HB 574 requires “athletic teams designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex,” and it recognizes sex “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
“Girls should not have to worry about having to compete against biological males in sports,” said State Rep. Jennifer Balkcom (R), who sponsored the bill, “and this legislation will protect female athletes from such unfair and unsafe competition.”
The veto override for HB 574 passed the House 74-45 and the Senate 27-18, earning the votes of two House Democrats, Wray and Pierce. Pierce flipped from voting against the bill in June to voting for it in August.
Pro-family advocates in North Carolina praised the Republican-led legislature’s reversals of Gov. Cooper’s vetoes. “Bodies play sports, not identities, and this bill ensures North Carolina girls and women won’t be benched in their own sports and can train confidently knowing they have a safe and level playing field,” said N.C. Values Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald regarding HB 574. With regard to SB 49, she added, “Parents already have the fundamental right to oversee the education and upbringing of their own children, but public schools have slowly been usurping those rights by hiding information and slipping radical ideologies into their lessons.”
North Carolina Family Policy Council President John Rustin relished the legislative victories. “NC Family is extremely grateful for all the lawmakers and citizens who championed the passage of these extremely important bills that are designed to protect the health and safety of children and families in North Carolina,” he told The Washington Stand. “The fact that veto override votes were necessary to enact these commonsense laws is tragic, but we praise God for providing the ultimate victory!”
The North Carolina legislative majority has also leveraged its slim veto-override margin for pro-life gains as well. In May, state Republicans passed a significant test of their coalition by enacting legislation protecting the unborn after 12 weeks’ gestation (up from 20 weeks).
Photo: Elijah Mears / Unsplash.com