Bill to ban transgender health or mental-health care of minors in Kentucky has a head of steam in the state House

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

A far-reaching anti-transgender bill filed Tuesday, Feb. 21, was assigned to a legislative committee the same day it was filed, has received the first of three required readings and already has 20 co-sponsors.
House Bill 470, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy (Shelby County), says “The provision of gender transition services to a person under the age of 18 years by a health-care provider or mental-health care provider is unethical and unprofessional conduct that establishes the provider is unfit to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of his or her position or occupation.”

The bill defines gender transition as “the process in which a person goes from identifying with and living as a gender that corresponds to his or her sex to identifying with and living as a different gender and may involve social, legal, or physical changes.”

Among other things, the bill includes provisions to :
  • Require health care providers and mental health care providers to be investigated if there is any report that a provider has provided gender transition of provision of gender transition services to a person under the age of 18 years;
  • If confirmed, the provider’s license is to be revoked and their public funding terminated;
  • Require that providers be jointly and severally liable for all damages and costs sustained for providing gender transition services or aiding and assisting a person under the age of 18 years to consider or to obtain gender transition services;
  • Provide defense to providers refusing to provide services;
  • Makes failure to report a gender transition service to the Vital Statistics Branch within 30 days of providing the service a crime;
  • Provides provisions for when a person’s parents or guardian can bring an action because of personal injury before the person turns 18 and by the person within 30 years of the person turning 18, with exceptions under which the time may be longer;
  • Includes conditions for actions and damages;
  • Prohibits the use of public funds, including Medicaid, for gender transition services;
  • Prohibits a provider employed by a public agency to provide  and include gender transition procedures;
  • Allows the Attorney General to bring action to enforce provisions;
  • Prohibits a public health care or mental health care  provider from intervening in a legal proceeding in defense of the provision of gender transition services;
  • Requires a school to notify each parent or guardian if a student under the age of 18 significantly changes his or her gender expression, expresses an inconsistency between his or her sex and his or her perceived gender or perceived sex; or expresses a desire to be referred to by a name, pronoun or other identifier inconsistent with his or her sex, with some exceptions related to parental abuse.
  • Includes updates to a host of laws to comply with the bill’s provisions, including ones that will prohibit a court from changing a person under the age of 18’s name if it is to assist them with a gender transition and another to prohibit the Department of Juvenile Justice from classifying a detainee by a sex that is inconsistent with his or her sex as defined in the bill.
The bill, dubbed the “Do No Harm Act,” has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee, of which Decker is a vice-chair. The committee meets at noon on Wednesdays; this bill has not yet been placed on the agenda. If passed and signed into law, it would become effective Jan. 1, 2024.

This is just one of several bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community, Olivia Krauth reports for the Louisville Courier  Journal: “Several ‘parents’ rights’ bills include provisions either restricting gender transition services, outing students to their parents or allowing teachers to ignore a student’s preferred pronouns or name. One such measure, Senate Bill 150, already cleared the Senate and now waits in the House for consideration,” she writes. “Other proposals include forcing students to use the school bathroom tied to their biological sex, even if they don’t identify with it. HB 120 also would prohibit gender transition procedures for youths.”

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