One bill would prohibit trans-affirming care for anyone under the age of 21, while another would grant medical providers a broad “license to discriminate.”
RALEIGH, NC – This week lawmakers in North Carolina proposed two bills that would jeopardize LGBTQ North Carolinians’ access to healthcare in the state.
One of the extreme bills, SB514, would prohibit transgender people under the age of 21 from receiving essential medical care. The bill would prohibit transgender young people from receiving any trans-affirming care and penalize medical professionals who provide transition-related care. It also essentially requires state employees – such as teachers, administrators, or counselors – to “out” transgender students to their parents, potentially before they are ready to share. And it protects the dangerous practice of anti-LGBTQ “conversion therapy,” the debunked practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
SB514 mirrors similar legislation that has been introduced across the South and nation this legislative season. Just this week, the Republican Governor of Arkansas vetoed a similar bill, calling it an example of “vast government overreach.”
Another bill, SB515, would allow any medical provider – defined so broadly to reach all health care entities as well as individual staff at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, or pharmacies – to refuse to do anything they object to on the basis of conscience, including even providing information or referrals. It in effect establishes a broad and dangerous “license to discriminate” against LGBTQ people, pregnant people, or people of differing faith backgrounds.
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said today:
“Our state learned a lesson all too painfully with HB2: Extreme bills that target LGBTQ people harm individuals, communities, and the fabric of our state itself. We’re working toward building communities across North Carolina where every LGBTQ person can thrive: That means being treated with dignity and respect, it means living free from discrimination, and it means being able to access the health care you need and deserve in your hometown.”
Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality NC, said today:
“It’s heartbreaking -- though not unexpected – to see these direct, repeated attacks on trans and gender-nonconforming youth in North Carolina and across the country. These attempts to control the bodies and medical decisions of parents and their transgender children are invasive, inappropriate, and outright dangerous. Decisions about a child’s medical welfare should be made between that child, their doctor, and their parents or guardians – not lawmakers. We cannot legislate the transgender community out of existence. It is the job of all lawmakers to understand their entirety of their constituency and mitigate challenges instead of creating barriers.”
Chantal Stevens, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina said today:
“This is the latest in a series of coordinated attacks on healthcare access for trans and gender-nonconforming youth across the country, the true aim of which is to push trans and non-binary people out of public life. Not only are these bills rooted in falsehoods, hate, and fear-mongering, but they also invade the private interactions between each of us and our medical providers. Just as North Carolina is recovering from the damage wrought by HB2 on our reputation and economy, let's move forward together to build equitable communities rather than doubling down on being a state that legislates hate.”
In the five years since the passage of HB2, North Carolina has advanced significantly on LGBTQ issues. In December, a key prong of HB2’s replacement expired, and in recent weeks a half dozen cities, towns, and counties have passed inclusive nondiscrimination measures. Last month the NC Department of Public Instruction announced that it will update its student information system to better respect the privacy and dignity of transgender students. And in March, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis from NC said in a committee hearing about the Equality Act that he is committed to working toward a future where LGBTQ people do not face discrimination because of who they are.