Metro Weekly

Kansas Governor Vetoes Trans Health Care Ban

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed a bill banning gender-affirming treatments for minors, all but daring Republicans to override it.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly – Photo: Office of the Governor.

Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a bill seeking to block the ability of transgender youth to access gender-affirming treatments.

The bill, passed largely along party lines by both chambers of the Republican-led Legislature, prohibits any entity receiving state funds from providing or subsidizing gender-affirming treatments for minors.

It also prohibits individuals or entities receiving state funds, or state employees in their official capacity, from encouraging youth who are suffering from gender dysphoria to pursue either medical or social transition.

The bill prohibits Kansas’ Medicaid from reimbursing or providing coverage for gender-affirming treatments for transgender youth.

It also threatens to strip doctors who recommend gender-affirming treatments of their license to practice, and opens them up to lawsuits from people who medically transition but later experience regret.

In vetoing the bill, Kelly slammed the measure as an intrusion on parental rights, a violation of the medical privacy of transgender individuals, and an example of government overreach.

She also said it was wrong to punish medical officials for recommending the most up-to-date, widely accepted treatments for gender dysphoria.

“This divisive legislation targets a small group of Kansans by placing government mandates on them and dictating to parents how to best raise and care for their children,” Kelly said in a statement. “I do not believe that is a conservative value, and it’s certainly not a Kansas value.

“To be clear, this legislation tramples parental rights,” Kelly contineud. “The last place that I would want to be as a politician is between a parent and a child who needed medical care of any kind. And, yet, that is exactly what this legislation does.”

Kelly is now facing a showdown with the Republican-led legislature, whose members could attempt to override her veto and enact the bill into law.

Last year, she vetoed a similar measure banning transgender athletes from competing in female-designated sports, but Republican lawmakers overrode her.

Kelly also vetoed a bill that criminalizes people believed to have “coerced” a person into having an abortion, which is so vague that it might punish people for merely expressing an opinion that a person should consider abortion as an option — raising First Amendment concerns — and a similar bill requiring more than a dozen questions to be added to existing surveys of women seeking out abortions, reports the Kansas Reflector

Vetoes of all three bills angered Republicans, including Senate President Ty Masterson (R-Andover), who accused her of being beholden to the political Left.

“The governor has made it clear yet again that the radical left controls her veto pen,” Masterson said in a statement. “This devotion to extremism will not stand, and we look forward to overriding her vetoes when we return in two weeks.”

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