In July 18, Louisiana lawmakers overturned Governor Edwards’ veto of a bill banning certain medical procedures for transgender children. House Bill 648 was the only one of 26 vetoes by the governor that was overridden in the special session.
Representative Firment’s HB 648 bans the use of puberty-blockers, hormone treatment and gender-reassignment surgery for children under age 18. The veto required a super majority in both the House and the Senate chambers of the state. The House vote was 76 to 23 to override. The Senate vote was 28 to 11.
Lawmakers failed to gather enough votes to overturn Edwards’ veto of two other bills with ongoing controversy regarding transgender issues. HB 466 would have prohibited discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms and HB 81would have required teachers to use birth names and pronouns of students associated with their birth certificate unless a student’s parent or guardian directs otherwise.
Neither were able to be overturned by the lawmakers. The vote on HB 466 was 68 in favor to override and 29 against. The vote on HB 81 was 67 to override and 29 against.
Edwards said in a statement, “Today, I was overridden for the second time, on my veto of a bill that needlessly harms a very small population of vulnerable children, their families, and their health care professionals. I expect the courts to throw out this unconstitutional bill as well.”
Attorney General Jeff Landry, said, “By overriding the governor’s veto of Rep. Gabe Firment’s bill, we send a clear signal that woke liberal agendas that are destructive to children will not be tolerated in Louisiana.”
In the June Senate Health and Welfare Committee hearing, Clinical psychologist, Dr. Clifton Mixon, was among those who testified in opposition to HB 648.
“I work in a gender clinic that prescribes hormone therapies to youth,” he said. “At the heart of this debate is mistrust in our medical and mental health providers to provide ethical, individualized care without prejudice and based on best practices and established research,” Mixon said. “I’m here to address these concerns in opposition to a mean-spirited bill that defies science and humanity.
“The evidence is clear––gender affirming medical interventions are safe and effective treatment for gender dysphoria and resulting mental health problems for many trans youth. Unfortunately, you’ve been exposed to false information that misrepresents the established research and practice guidelines on gender health care medicine. I am here with actual studies that can help you understand the actual facts. I have a doctoral degree with training in how to conduct and interpret research,” he said.
“These medical interventions reduce risk for suicide and improve overall mental health functioning and quality of life. We are not providing access to youth for whom it is not appropriate.”
Psychologist, Dr. Jesse Lambert, also testified in opposition, representing the Louisiana Psychological Association.
“A lot of research has been discussed today scientifically sound research that indicates that this is a true phenomena and that individuals who are trans have suffered greatly.
“Citing from the American Psychological Association, we have data that indicates that individuals who are trans experience more victimization, be that bullying, be that acts of violence occurring in school. They feel more ostracized, more isolated and this generalizes into relationships including close family relationships.”
He explained that a model of triage issues with different intensities and that practitioners don’t automatically jump to biological modalities.
“If this bill should pass, psychologist would not be able to take part in a team based approach, involving endocrinologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians and contribute to an individual’s care from a holistic standpoint.”
Speaking in favor of his measure, Rep. Firment said, “Perhaps the most compelling scientific evidence to consider today is the fact that several progressive European nations who pioneered chemical and surgical sex change procedures like England, Sweden, and Finland have completely reversed course on this issue[…].
Dr, Quenton Vanmeter, a pediatric endocrinologist from Atlanta, Georgia, cited evidence from European countries that suggests that there is no benefit in transgender surgery or hormonal treatment and that the suicide rate is not impacted.
Dr. Stephen Félix, a pediatrician, said, “The problem with the studies that the AEP reports and others, they do not have significant randomized control trials. They have small sample sizes, they have poor follow up, they have a lot of people lost to follow up, they have individuals who they have a very short period of time that they follow them.” he said.
“The studies that are coming out of Sweden, Finland or long-term studies where they looked extensively and they said, ‘wait, this is all wrong.’ The quality of evidence that supports this transition therapy is poor. The level of evidence that we’re presenting is strong.”
Sen. Mills said that he just needed them to understand organizations’ views. Dr. Griffin said, “Policies are created by organizations, a small group of individuals in organizations. That is then broadcast out and physicians like ourselves, in the trenches, […] “