Political News

Medical restrictions for transgender youth stall at Capitol

Posted February 19, 2021 2:50 p.m. EST

— A proposed law restricting medical care for transgender teenagers stalled at the Utah Legislature on Friday after Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said he threatened to veto the proposal.

The measure would have blocked doctors from prescribing medications like hormones and puberty blockers as well as surgical interventions for transgender children. The treatments would be considered “unprofessional conduct" under the legislation.

In a heated committee hearing, lawmakers voted to send the bill back to the Rules Committee which stalls the bill from moving forward.

Several doctors and medical professionals who testified were strongly opposed to the bill and said legislators shouldn't be able to dictate what care a patient can receive.

Supporters of the bill said the legislation isn't intended to harm transgender individuals but to protect children.

Cox said Thursday that he believes the state should use caution in considering making laws that enter private family medical decisions. He said he had “threatened to veto” one version of the bill, though he suggested unspecified changes could make the proposal more palatable. He also expressed sympathy for transgender kids, becoming emotional as he described the struggles they go through navigating their identities.

Several other states are considering similar measures this year.

Utah is also one of a number of states considering banning transgender teenagers from girls' sports. Supporters say that would be more fair for women, but opponents argue it discriminates against an already marginalized group.

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Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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