Today, in a rare and unexpected move, the Louisiana State Legislature voted to override Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards’ veto of a bill that would protect children from life-altering transgender procedures.
The bill, known as the “Stop Harming Our Kids Act,” restricts doctors from performing certain gender-transition procedures, such as double mastectomies on girls who identify as boys, and administering puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children.
Republican Laurie Schlegel, a member of the Louisiana State Legislature, commented on the bill in a statement, “As a counselor, I know of no other mental health disorder where we affirm distorted thinking. We don’t affirm the distorted thinking of anorexic children who suffer body dysmorphia, do we? And since studies have shown that gender dysphoria does not persist in most children past puberty, why would any so called treatment include irreversible medical procedures?”
The House voted 75-23 to override the veto, and the Senate voted 28-11 to adopt the measure. This was only the third time since back in 1974 when the state elected to adopt a new Constitution, that the Legislature had overridden a veto from a governor.
The override of Governor Edwards’ veto was praised by conservative groups in the state, including the Louisiana Family Forum and Republican strategist Lionel Rainey III. Rainey said, in reference to Louisiana lawmakers, “This bill was ground zero for the veto session and will show up in every single race this year in Louisiana. The legislature sent a historic message, loud and clear, that in Louisiana, children are off limits.”
The passing of the bill stands in contrast to Edwards’ veto message in which he cited federal court rulings that struck down similar bans in other states. So far, 20 states have passed bans on transgender procedures on children, with Kentucky being one of the most recent examples. The Republican legislature in Kentucky was able to override the Governor’s veto, but parts of the law were blocked by a federal judge.
It’s obvious that this decision by Louisiana lawmakers is a positive step towards protecting children and their right to make life-altering decisions by themselves in the future.