Controversial Decision: Parental Rights Act Rejected by Louisiana Democratic Governor

Louisiana’s Democratic Governor, John Bel Edwards, has disappointingly struck down a bill to safeguard minors from transgender surgeries and related interventions, including administering cross-sex hormones to children.

The bill, known as House Bill 648 or the “Stop Harming Our Kids Act,” was passed by the Republican majority state legislature in early June. 

Aimed at preserving the integrity of children’s natural development, it called for a ban on hormone treatments, puberty blockers, and sex reassignment surgeries for minors. Such procedures include severe measures like performing double mastectomies on girls identifying as boys, which opponents rightfully view as a form of mutilation.

Louisiana’s Republican state Senator, Jeremy Stine, had voiced his concern about the bill facing a potential veto. He emphasized that children need the reassurance of being loved, cherished, and perfect as God has made them. His worries materialized on June 29 when Governor Edwards announced his veto.

Governor Edwards’ refusal to sign the bill into law surprised some, as he refrained from obstructing a previous law that barred transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports competitions. Yet, his six-page veto letter demonstrated his apparent opposition to the “Stop Harming Our Kids Act,” stating that the bill would do the opposite of its title.

Addressing Clay Schexnayder, the Republican Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, Governor Edwards argued that the bill posed a threat to the professional licenses of medical specialists, infringed upon parental rights in making healthcare decisions for children with gender dysphoria, and constituted a targeted attack on children grappling with their gender identity.

Contrary to the Governor’s belief, the bill advocates for protecting a vulnerable group of children from potentially irreversible decisions. Edwards emphasized that no records of sex-change surgeries were performed in Louisiana between 2017 and 2021. However, he failed to address the broader scope of the bill, which involves the prohibition of hormone therapies and puberty blockers in addition to surgeries.

Governor Edwards also pointed to “structural defects” in the bill, asserting a lack of clarity about the specific medical interventions subject to penalties or license revocations, which led to the bill’s veto, keeping current regulations in Louisiana on transgender procedures for children unchanged, including the requirement of parental consent for anyone under 18 to access hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and other treatments for gender dysphoria.

Opponents of these procedures argue that gender dysphoria, defined as distress over a mismatch between gender identity and biological sex, needs psychological solutions. They consider physical interventions as harmfully altering the natural development of children’s bodies.

Contrarily, the mainstream U.S. healthcare industry, represented by groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, has promoted puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and even gender transition surgeries for children, terming them “gender-affirming care.”

However, in light of this veto, it’s worth noting that 19 states have passed laws protecting minors from transgender surgeries and related procedures, recognizing the importance of preserving the natural biological development of children and their right to make life-altering decisions once they reach the age of consent.