North Carolina lawmakers override veto, pass ban on sex-change surgeries for kids

Operating room staff perform a surgery.
Operating room staff perform a surgery. | Getty Images

The North Carolina General Assembly has overridden Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes of bills that ban biological males who identify as female from competing in female sports and ban sex-change surgeries and hormone intervention drugs for trans-identified youth.

The Republican-controlled legislature voted Wednesday to override Cooper's vetoes of House Bill 574, also known as the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act," and House Bill 808, also called "An Act to Prohibit Gender Transition Procedures for Minors."

The votes were primarily along party lines, although two House Democrat lawmakers joined Republicans to override the veto on HB 808, reported The Associated Press.

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HB 808 and HB 574 were two of six bills Cooper vetoed earlier this year, only to have the vetoes overridden and laws subsequently passed. For those under the age of 18, HB 808 bars medical providers from providing cross-sex hormones, puberty-blocking drugs or surgical gender-transition procedures that remove healthy body parts.

While the law goes into effect immediately, kids who began such interventions before Aug. 1 can continue to do so with parental consent if deemed medically necessary by doctors. 

The American Principles Project, a socially conservative political advocacy organization, celebrated the veto overriding. APP President Terry Schilling declared in a statement that the "transgender industry continues to lose ground."

"The vast majority of Americans recognize the truth: male and female are biological realities that no drug or surgery can change. And our laws should recognize that reality and not pretend that men and women are arbitrary or interchangeable," Schilling said.

"It's unfortunate, of course, that these votes were even necessary. Gov. Cooper's craven vetoes should be a reminder that his Democratic Party cares more about kowtowing to far-left activists than appealing to the average voter. Those spurned voters should keep that in mind when they go to the polls to elect a new governor next year."

Liz Barber, director of policy and advocacy for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, believes the legislation "will have devastating effects on trans youth who are already facing multiple barriers."

"Transgender young people deserve to make choices about their own bodies, discuss their identities at school without fear of outing, and participate in sports teams that align with their gender identity," Barber said in a statement.

"It is shameful that the General Assembly has continued to push this discriminatory agenda. We will continue to advocate for trans youth and protect the freedoms of all North Carolinians."

In July, Cooper vetoed HB 808 and HB 574, arguing that Republican lawmakers were "using government to invade the rights and responsibilities of parents and doctors, hurting vulnerable children and damaging our state's reputation and economy."

"Instead of scheming for the next election, Republicans should get to work investing in our public schools and teachers, lowering the cost of living and creating more stability for middle class families," Cooper stated last month.

With the passage of HB 808, North Carolina joins 21 other states in banning or restricting surgeries and drugs aimed at cosmetically altering a minor to march their preferred gender identity.

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