Louisiana lawmakers override governor's veto to ban gender transition surgeries for minors

Democratic incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards speaks to a crowd at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel on November 16, 2019, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Democratic incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards speaks to a crowd at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel on November 16, 2019, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. | Getty Images/Matt Sullivan

The Republican-controlled Louisiana legislature has overridden the Democratic governor’s veto of a measure banning gender transition surgeries for minors, making it one of nearly two dozen states to have passed such a measure.

On Tuesday, the Louisiana House of Representatives overrode Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of House Bill 648 in a 76-23 vote, while the Louisiana Senate overrode the gubernatorial veto in a 28-11 vote. The votes in both chambers fell mostly along party lines.  

Seven House Democrats joined House Republicans in supporting the veto override, while one Senate Republican joined Democrats in opposing it as two of his Democratic colleagues broke with their party to vote in favor of the override. The lone independent in the House of Representatives sided with Democrats by opposing the veto override. 

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House Bill 648, scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, prohibits healthcare professionals from providing trans-identified minors with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and performing gender transition surgeries on them. It requires medical professionals who have already begun providing trans-identified youth with gender transition interventions to “institute a period during which the minor’s use of the drug or hormone is systematically reduced and discontinued.”

Additionally, the bill authorizes professional or occupational licensing boards to revoke the license of medical professionals who perform the prohibited procedures on minors and provides a cause of action for children harmed by such procedures to seek “damages in a court of competent jurisdiction.”

The veto override comes less than three weeks after Edwards announced that he was vetoing the bill in a lengthy June 28 letter to House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Patrick Page Cortez. Edwards reacted to the veto override in a statement published Tuesday. He described the bill as “unconstitutional” and contended that it “needlessly harms a very small population of vulnerable children, their families, and their healthcare professionals.”

Louisiana becomes one of 21 states that have passed legislation restricting the provision of some or all gender transition procedures on minors. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Supporters of such measures cite concerns about their long-term effects as the reason why such legislation is necessary. While such interventions are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Pediatricians has listed possible side effects of puberty blockers as “osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment, and when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility.”

As for cross-sex hormones, the American College of Pediatricians identifies “an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers across their lifespan” as potential long-term effects.

Gender transition surgeries, which involve the removal of body parts that align with an individual’s biological sex and/or the creation of body parts that correspond with their stated gender identity, have received renewed scrutiny as a result of lawsuits filed by detransitioners who once identified as a member of the opposite sex and underwent treatment for gender dysphoria that they have since seen subside.

Earlier this year, Chloe Cole, a young adult who formerly experienced gender dysphoria and underwent several gender transition procedures as a minor, filed a complaint against the medical providers who treated her as a teenager. The lawsuit contended that the “gender affirming treatment” Cole received caused her mental health to decline, specifically attributing the suicidal thoughts she experienced to the double mastectomy performed on her at age 15.

According to the lawsuit, Cole suffers from “deep physical and emotional wounds, severe regrets, and distrust of the medical system.” In addition to highlighting long-term damage to mental health as a consequence of gender transition surgeries, critics of the procedures also point to their physical effects as a cause for concern.

In March, the DeSantis War Room, a Twitter account that describes itself as a “rapid response unit” for Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, released images of unsightly scars left behind from gender transition surgeries that remove healthy breasts from trans-identified females and remove forearm tissue from girls who identify as boys in an effort to create a fake, flaccid penis.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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