Gov. Cooper vetoes three bills which could affect transgender youth

Gov. Cooper vetoes three bills which could affect transgender youth
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 1:55 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - On Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed three bills that could affect LGBTQ+ youth in North Carolina:

  • House Bill 808, Gender Transition/Minors
  • House Bill 574, Fairness in Women’s Sports Act
  • Senate Bill 49, Parents’ Bill of Rights

House Bill 808, “Gender Transition/Minors,” would prohibit certain gender-affirming care for children. Among the procedures restricted by the bill are puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and gender-affirming surgeries, however, the latter is typically recommended only for older adolescents and adults.

Gender-affirming care is linked to improved health outcomes for trans people and is recommended by the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and several other major medical organizations.

“A doctor’s office is no place for politicians, and North Carolina should continue to let parents and medical professionals make decisions about the best way to offer gender care for their children. Ordering doctors to stop following approved medical protocols sets a troubling precedent and is dangerous for vulnerable youth and their mental health,” Cooper said in a written release.

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, applauds Cooper’s veto but worries what could happen if Republicans vote to override the veto.

“This is about the government inserting itself and interfering in private choices that are best left to parents who have their children’s best welfare at top of mind and top of heart. The government should never be involving itself in those decisions. And this is exactly what happens when politicians try to insert themselves,” Beach-Ferrara said.

“The open-door policy of allowing children to permanently change their gender is reckless, and rightfully questioned by the medical community. Several countries are now restricting gender-reassignment procedures for minors, citing long-term consequences and permanent risks. While Gov. Cooper has turned a blind eye to the protection of children, the legislature is taking the safest approach by limiting access to these life-altering medical procedures until a child comes of age,” said Republican Senator Joyce Krawiec.

House Bill 574, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” would prohibit trans women and girls from playing on women and girls athletic teams in middle, high school and college-level sports.

“We don’t need politicians inflaming their political culture wars by making broad, uninformed decisions about an extremely small number of vulnerable children that are already handled by a robust system that relies on parents, schools and sports organizations,” Cooper said in the release.

“There are inherent biological differences between men and women. We’ve already seen the impacts of allowing biological men to play against biological women in North Carolina and across the United States. International athletic governing bodies are beginning to put guardrails in place to ensure fair competition, and we need to do the same. Gov. Cooper has no interest in supporting female athletes, only his far-left donors that want to erase women by refusing to acknowledge biology,” said Republican Senator Vickie Sawyer.

Senate Bill 49, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” would restrict “instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality” from being in the curriculum for kindergarten through fourth grade. Sexual health education currently begins in the seventh grade in N.C., according to state law. The bill would also require staff to notify parents if a child asks to use a different name or pronouns, a policy which would effectively out a transgender student who has not yet come out to their parents.

“Parents are the most essential educators for their children and their involvement must be encouraged, but this bill will scare teachers into silence by injecting fear and uncertainty into classrooms. This “Don’t Say Gay” bill also hampers the important and sometimes lifesaving role of educators as trusted advisers when students have nowhere else to turn. The rights of parents are well established in state law, so instead of burdening schools with their political culture wars, legislators should help them with better teacher pay and more investments in students,” Cooper said in the release.

Beach-Ferrara says her children could be directly impacted by this bill if it were to pass.

“This specific bill isn’t really about parents having a say in school content, because it’s only about some parents, not all parents. For instance, my wife and I have a son who’s in elementary school and if his bill passes, it would raise questions about whether he could actually talk about what his family did over the weekend in the classroom or not. That’s not about parents’ bills of rights,” she said.

New Hanover County Senator Michael Lee issued a joint statement with fellow Republican Senator Amy Galey.

“Parents know what is best for their children. Gov. Cooper continues to mislead the public about the Parents’ Bill of Rights so he can drum up manufactured outrage and rake in donations. This bill encourages collaboration, promotes transparency, and keeps classrooms focused on educating, not indoctrinating. The Democrats and Gov. Cooper think the government can co-parent, but Republicans will always stand strong to defend parents and families,” the statement reads.

WRAL reports that the vetoes are unlikely to survive because of the Republican supermajority in both chambers.