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More states expected to enact laws restricting transgender care for kids

Speaker of the House Dade Phelan strikes the gavel in the House chamber where SB14 is being debated at the Capitol of Texas in Austin, Texas, Friday, May 5, 2023. SB14 would ban gender affirming health care for transgender children.
Eric Gay
/
AP
Speaker of the House Dade Phelan strikes the gavel in the House chamber where SB14 is being debated at the Capitol of Texas in Austin, Texas, Friday, May 5, 2023. SB14 would ban gender affirming health care for transgender children.

Texas' Legislature has advanced a bill, and Missouri and Nebraska statehouses are poised for action as well, adding to the list of at least 17 states that already have laws in place.

While Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors in Florida, the state is far from alone. At least 17 states have enacted similar laws restricting or banning such treatments.

Other states that have enacted similar treatments for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia.

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Texas would become the largest state to ban gender-affirming care for minors after a vote in its Legislature on Wednesday.

Missouri and Nebraska proposals are poised to enact such action as well. Several other states are considering such bills.

Federal judges have blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas.

These bans have spread quickly, with only three states enacting such laws before this year.

Meanwhile, some Democrat-led states are enacting measures aimed at protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ youth, and Michigan could be next.

In Missouri, a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors is awaiting action before Republican Gov. Mike Parson. The state’s Republican attorney general, Andrew Bailey, this week withdrew a rule he had proposed that would have gone further by also restricting access to the care for adults.

Bailey cited the bill pending before Parson as a reason for eliminating the rule, which had been blocked by a state judge.

Nebraska Republicans on Tuesday folded a 12-week abortion ban into a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors, potentially clearing the way for a final vote on the combined measure as early as this week.

Before DeSantis signed the latest ban, Florida was one of two states that had restricted the care via regulations or administrative action. Texas's governor has ordered child welfare officials to investigate reports of children receiving such care as child abuse, though a judge has blocked those investigations.

On Wednesday, the Texas bill cleared its GOP-controlled Legislature after a final vote in the Senate over the objections of Democrats, who used parliamentary maneuvers in recent weeks to delay passage but could not derail it entirely.

Transgender rights activists have disrupted the Texas House with protests from the chamber gallery, which have led to state police forcing demonstrators to move outside the building.

Beyond health care, hundreds of measures targeting transgender people have been proposed in statehouses.