RALEIGH, N.C. – The office of North Carolina's Republican Senate leader said on Tuesday the chamber won't advance a controversial bill put forward this month by three GOP members that sought to limit medical treatments for transgender people under 21.
The measure also aimed to punish doctors who facilitate a patient's desire to present themselves or appear in a way that is inconsistent with their biological sex.
“We do not see a pathway to Senate Bill 514 becoming law,” said Pat Ryan, a spokesman for GOP Senate leader Phil Berger, adding that “the bill will not be voted on the Senate floor.”
The measure prohibiting doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to minors and young adults faced an all but certain death if it made its way to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The proposal did not clear any committees, and the lack of support from Berger for advancing it is the nail in the coffin for a proposal that LGBTQ advocates consider harmful.
Equality North Carolina, the state's top largest advocacy group for the transgender community, took to Twitter on Tuesday in response to the development, first reported by WFAE radio.
“This is welcome news, but the trauma and impact of these bills on the trans community over the past few weeks have been horrifying,” the group wrote. “Legislators who sponsored this bill, and the other two anti-trans bills at the NCGA, have blood on their hands.”
One of the bill's authors, Republican state Sen. Ralph Hise, did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on Berger's decision.
His proposal, the “Youth Health Protection Act,” was similar to other bills introduced by Republican state lawmakers across the country seeking to limit treatments for transgender adolescents, though many others applied the limitation to those under 18, rather than 21.
LGBTQ advocates feared the plan would have outed kids to their parents because of its requirement that state employees immediately notify parents in writing if their child demonstrated a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Medical professionals who performed gender reassignment surgeries could have had their license revoked or faced civil fines of up to $1,000 per occurrence.
Democrats this year have renewed calls for ensuring LGBTQ residents have stronger legal protection. Among other measures, they want the state to ban conversion therapy, or the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Republicans are presently weighing a bill that would bar transgender girls and women from competing on female athletic teams in middle school, high school and college — an action Republicans in other states have taken as well.
Ryan did not comment on whether Senate leader Berger supports the athletics bill, noting it was introduced by House Republicans and is still being considered in that chamber.
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Anderson 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.