Metro Weekly

Kansas Republicans Fail to Override Veto of Trans Health Care Ban

A bill banning gender-affirming treatments for minors will not become law after Republicans failed to override Gov. Laura Kelly's veto.

Kansas State Flag -Photo: alekstauru, via 123rf

A proposed ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youths failed to take effect in Kansas after Republican lawmakers narrowly fell short of the votes needed to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

Had the bill passed, it would have banned all gender-affirming surgical and hormonal interventions for minors suffering from gender dysphoria, with penalties, including the loss of their license to practice.

The proposed law also would have allowed former patients, or the parents of former patients, to sue any doctor who prescribed gender-affirming treatments.

Critics of the bill say it also would have effectively barred social transitioning — which involves no medical interventions — by prohibiting any person or entity who receives state funds from advocating for social or medical transitions for minors with gender dysphoria. 

The State Senate easily overrode Kelly’s veto on Monday by a 27-13 vote.

The House of Representatives, however, fell two votes short, 82-42.

House Minority Leader Vic Miller (D-Topeka) then made a procedural motion to officially kill the bill, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Four Republicans in total voted against the legislation, including two who initially voted for the bill but flipped their votes over concerns that the bill went too far and infringed on parental rights.

“I strongly support prohibiting gender reassignment surgery and limiting the use of hormone blockers for minors,” said State Rep. Jess Borjon (R-Topeka), one of the two vote-switchers. “Senate Bill 233 goes too far in restricting mental and behavioral health care for children, which is so desperately needed in these cases.”

Critics worried that, based on its wording, the bill would make it difficult for hospitals to treat any mental health patients with drugs, or that teachers could be penalized from affirming a student’s gender identity at school.

Kelly hailed the failure to override her veto as a victory.

“The legislature’s decision to sustain my veto is a win for parental rights, Kansas families, and families looking to call our state home,” she said in a statement. 

The Human Rights Campaign celebrated the law’s defeat.

“Make no mistake, today was a win for young Kansans,” HRC President Kelley Robinson said in a statement.

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