North Carolina bans sex change surgery for minors after GOP overrides Dem governor’s veto

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North Carolina has banned sex change surgeries and related care for minors after Republican lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s opposition. 

GOP supermajorities in the state’s House and Senate on Wednesday enacted a bill barring medical professionals from providing hormone therapy, puberty-blocking drugs and surgical sex change procedures to anyone under 18, with limited exceptions.

The law takes effect immediately. But minors who had begun treatment before Aug. 1 may continue receiving that care if their doctors deem it medically necessary and their parents consent.

The Senate voted 27-18 to complete the veto override after the House voted 74-45 earlier. Two House Democrats joined all present Republicans in supporting the override bid.

Democratic Sen. Lisa Grafstein, North Carolina’s only out LGBTQ+ state senator, said the bill ‘may be the most heartbreaking bill in a truly heartbreaking session.’

Republican Sen. Joyce Krawiec, the bill’s primary sponsor, argued the state has a responsibility to protect children from receiving potentially irreversible procedures before they are old enough to make their own informed medical decisions.

North Carolina is one of nearly two dozen states to enact legislation restricting or banning sex change surgery for minors. Local LGBTQ+ rights advocates have vowed to take the ban to court. 

The law was among a slew of bills passed Wednesday touching on gender in sports and LGBTQ+ instruction in the classroom. 

Earlier, the Senate and House voted minutes apart to override another veto of a bill limiting LGBTQ+ instruction in the early grades. The law now requires that public school teachers in most circumstances alert parents before they call a student by a different name or pronoun. It also bans instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms, which critics have previously likened to a Florida law opponents call ‘Don’t Say Gay.’ 

Both chambers also voted Wednesday to override Cooper’s veto of another bill banning transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams from middle and high school through college. It, too, immediately became law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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