INDIANAPOLIS — The Health and Provider Services Committee heard a controversial bill on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 480 would prohibit physicians or practitioners from knowingly providing gender transition procedures to a minor. It also prohibits them from referring minors to other practitioners for those procedures.
"If I had not received the counseling that was necessary, I would not be standing before you. I would have been another statistic to you," Noah Cash, a transgender man, said. "I am 20 years old and I remember first questioning my gender when I was 7 in the first grade and I was scared, and I honestly still am."
The Indiana Senate health and providers committee passed the bill 8-3. Senators Shelli Yoder (D), Eddie Melton (D) and Vaneta Becker (R) voted opposed to the bill.
Several people spoke in opposition of the bill, while others, including some from out of state, traveled to the statehouse to show support.
"You call this care. I could not consent to this due to both my age and my mental health conditions, yet you call this care," Luka Hein, who formerly identified as transgender, said. "My parents were baited with the idea that I would commit suicide if this was not given to me. They were told would you rather have a dead daughter or a living son?"
Hein later testified that their double mastectomy was not performed in Indiana.
Doctors from Riley Hospital for Children also testified and said they never perform gender-affirming surgeries are people under the age of 18.
"When a patient desires a gender affirming hormone and a parent consents, hormones are prescribed at low doses, slowly advancing over 18-24 months with medical visits every three months with laboratory tests," Dr. Rachel Katzenellenbogen, who works in adolescent medicine at Riley, said.
The bill now moves to the full Senate and will need to be approved by next Tuesday or it will fail.
Physicians may continue to prescribe testosterone or estrogen on June 30 as part of a gender transition procedure until Dec. 31. This portion of the bill expires Jan. 1, 2024.
The ACLU of Indiana held a "pack the statehouse" event at 8 a.m. ahead of the committee hearing at 9 a.m.
The bill would also allow the Indiana Attorney General to investigate and "bring action to enforce compliance."
The ACLU of Indiana released the follow statement after the bill passed.
“Today, despite the opposition of all legitimate medical organizations, the Indiana Senate Health and Provider Services Committee voted to strip parents of their rights to make age-appropriate medical decisions for their children by banning gender-affirming medical care for trans youth.
“Indiana legislators are risking the lives of young people by forcing their way into family decision-making, a fundamental right which has traditionally been protected against government intrusion. Gender-affirming medical care for trans youth is safe, effective, and life-saving care. The ACLU of Indiana stands ready to defend the freedom of families to make these decisions for their children.”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 5.
Sen. Mike Braun released a statement in support of Gov. Holcomb’s decision to sign the gender transition bill.
“A child cannot consent to irreversible sex change surgery, and Indiana will no longer allow children to take dangerous drugs with long-term consequences like puberty blockers and hormone therapies in the name of extreme gender theories. These kids are clearly having a hard time, and we need to give them compassion and mental health help rather than dangerous, un-tested, unapproved drugs and irreversible surgeries," Braun's statement said.
Tood Rokita is also ready to defend SB 480.
“Signing the bill that protects our children from irreversible and damaging decisions was the right move by the governor," Rokita said. "Banning these experimental procedures is critical for the health and wellbeing of future generations. My office is thankful for the General Assembly’s hard work to ensure this got across the finish line. We are ready to defend it in court.”
However, advocacy groups have made it clear that the fight is not yet over.
“This is a dark day in Hoosier history,” said LaKimba DeSadier, Indiana State Director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “How dare Gov. Holcomb and the elected leaders of this state turn their backs on trans kids. Allowing SB 480 to become law is a devastating blow to the people of Indiana and their access to life-saving care. Gender affirming care for youth is safe, common and lifesaving. SB 480 is an atrocious, stigmatizing and medically unjustified political move not representative of Hoosier values. To our trans community: SB 480 will not erase you. We see you; we love you and we will never stop fighting for you.”
Earlier this week, the House Education Committee passed House Bill 1608 .
Rep. Michelle Davis amended the bill to change language from banning topics of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to encompass "human sexuality."
WRTV Statehouse Reporter Meredith Hackler will be at the statehouse and bring you the latest online and on WRTV News at Noon, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
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