Wednesday, January 10, 2024

South Carolina legislators ignore parents, trans kids, and medical professionals to pass anti-trans bill out of committee

 An anti-trans bill in South Carolina sailed through a house committee in spite of the fact that over 40 South Carolinians (parents, children, and medical professionals) present at the hearing spoke against it and only one person, an out-of-state lawyer affiliated with an anti-LGBTQ group appearing on video, spoke in favor of it.

 Pleas from transgender children’s pediatricians and parents to keep allowing such kids to receive hormone therapies failed to stop Republican lawmakers from advancing a ban on those treatments to the South Carolina House floor on Wednesday. The GOP-led Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee voted to advance the bill within the first two days of the 2024 legislative session. 

At least 22 states have enacted similar restrictions amid recent Republican-led crackdowns on transgender medical care, bathroom usage and sports participation. The expediency underscores South Carolina House Republicans' prioritization of the conservative issue at the outset of an election year that will pit incumbents against primary challengers from the right. 
The bill would bar health professionals from performing gender transition surgery, prescribing puberty-blocking drugs and overseeing hormone therapy for anyone under 18 years old. It also prevents Medicaid from covering such care for anyone under the age of 26.

The committee hearing was held on Tuesday and demonstrated just how much coordinated nonsense the process was. For one thing, out of 50 speaking people testifying about the bill, 49 spoke against it. And they came with "receipts." 

According to journalist Erin Reed:

 Phillip Ford, who spoke in opposition to the bill, was representing multiple groups. He stated in his speech that the mere hearing of anti-trans bills would result in a negative mental health impact to 94% of queer youth in the state, and 42% of queer youth considering suicide, citing a Trevor project study. “I was one of those youths,” he said, “several years ago when they passed the amendment banning marriage equality.” 

 After Ford pointed out that that studies show that transgender care is medically necessary and lifesaving, he was questioned by Republican Representative Heath Sessions, who asked incredulously, “Can we ask when we have speakers citing studies, can we get that turned into the committee?” He responded, “I’ve got them all right here,” pulling out a comically large binder of studies with a smirk. 

Below are some of the others who spoke against the bill. The moment with Ford shows that SC Republicans are willing to ignore accurate medical information in pursuit of their transphobic agenda.
And the fact that they chose to pass the bill out of committee in spite of parents, medical professionals and trans kids imploring them not to proves that they don't give a damn about parental rights or protecting kids; except for when they can weaponize the concepts.

In spite of all of witnesses - parents, kids and medical professionals and all residents of South Carolina - the committee chose to take the word of this one witness from the Alliance Defending Freedom who isn't a resident of SC and didn't even bother to show up in person:

According to WLTX News 19:

If the bill passes in the House, it will move to the Senate, which may be less eager to advance the issue. The bill is sponsored by House Majority Leader Davey Hiott and House Speaker Murrell Smith, joined by 27 other GOP co-sponsors. This collective sponsorship sends a clear signal that the legislation is a top priority for House Republicans.