(Headline USA) West Virginia‘s Republican supermajority Senate followed a growing national trend of Republicans protecting America’s youth from gender mutilation and hormone treatments, but the bill includes exceptions for ‘mental health.’
The GOP-dominated House last month passed a proposal including a ban on puberty-blocking medication and hormone therapy, with no exemptions for mental health.
The West Virginia Senate bill passed Friday would outlaw those under 18 from being prescribed hormone therapy, suspending the physical changes of puberty, buying patients and parents time to make future decisions about hormones.
The legislation also includes a ban on sex changes for minors.
However, the bill would allow young people to access puberty blockers and hormone therapy if they are experiencing severe gender dysphoria, under certain circumstances.
Gender dysphoria is defined by medical professionals as severe psychological distress experienced by those whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth.
The minor’s parents and guardians also would be required to give written consent to the treatments.
During Friday’s debate, Republican Sen. Eric Tarr said the medical interventions doctors are practicing are too extreme and driven by “woke” culture.
“They’re trying to take pronouns out of our textbooks for kids,” Tarr said.
The House version of the bill passed last month 84-10, with all ‘no’ votes coming from the body’s shrinking delegation of Democrats.
Speaking against the amendment which allowed for exceptions Friday, Republican Sen. Mark Maynard said he didn’t see why any changes were necessary. He worried additions could make the state vulnerable to a lawsuit.
“This amendment would disintegrate the clarity of the bill in its very simple terms,” Maynard said. “These guardrails are already in this bill as it came to us from the House.”
The bill, now including exceptions, faces steep opposition in the state House of Delegates, which will take up the more moderate Senate version.
Oklahoma, Kansas and Georgia, have all recently passed similar bans on gender mutilation and hormone therapy.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press