Indiana governor signs ban on gender-affirming care

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (IL file photo)

Editor’s note: This article has been updated.

Indiana’s governor signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors Wednesday, joining at least 12 other states that have enacted laws restricting or banning such care.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the legislation after Republican majorities in the Legislature approved it. The law will go into effect July 1, and trans youth currently taking medication to transition would have until the end of the year to stop doing so.

Holcomb had told reporters Tuesday that the bill on his desk was vague and had not indicated whether he would sign it or veto it.

Opponents of the legislation said the types of care the bill would ban, such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers, are vital and often life-saving for transgender kids. Medical providers say most of the procedures banned in the bill are reversible and safe for minors.

Transgender medical treatments for children and teens have been available in the U.S. for more than a decade and are endorsed by major medical associations.

But supporters of the legislation have contended such care is not reversible or carries side effects that only an adult — and not a minor’s parent — can consent to.

Lawmakers also banned gender-transition surgeries for minors in the state, though hospital representatives in Indiana told lawmakers that doctors do not perform genital surgeries for minors or provide them surgery referrals.

At least 12 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia. Federal judges have blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas, and nearly two dozen states are considering bills this year to restrict or ban care.

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