AUSTIN (Nexstar) — After two previous attempts that were delayed by parliamentarian moves, the Texas House advanced a bill that would ban gender transition care for Texas minors.
Senate Bill 14 passed the Texas House on second reading. The bill still needs final approval on third reading to advance. It will be up on third reading Monday, according to the supplemental Texas House calendar.
Texas House Democrats twice leveled a successful procedural objection to SB 14 last week, presenting a roadblock to the Republican priority legislation after a vote was delayed earlier in the week when opponents filled the chamber’s gallery in protest.
LGBTQ protesters marched to the Capitol on Friday morning to again oppose the legislation, saying it presents great harm to transgender youth and takes control away from parents and guardians.
SB 14 would prohibit trans youth from getting puberty blockers and hormone therapy in order to transition. Some medical groups and providers told lawmakers this care can be vital to their mental health during previous committee hearings on the bills. Trans kids who are already accessing these treatments for gender-affirming purposes would have to be “weaned off” in a “medically appropriate” manner. The bill would also prohibit transition-related surgeries, though these are rarely performed on kids, according to a Politifact fact check.
Supporters of the bill say they have concerns about parents allowing their children to make life-altering decisions at a young age.
The Senate has already passed a version of the bill, and Republican leaders in the House have expressed confidence that it has broad support from the GOP majority in the lower chamber.
Additionally on Friday, the House State Affairs Committee voted 9-4 to advance Senate Bill 12, which would ban drag performances in the presence of minors in Texas. The bill was amended earlier this week to remove language that targeted drag performers.
Some in opposition said the vague language could be interpreted broadly to include performances such as the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders since the bill would ban “certain sexually-oriented performances on public property…in the presence of a child.”
Likely litigation on SB 14
Groups in support of the legislation and against it have been preparing for legal challenges in anticipation of the governor signing SB 14 into law.
Rocio Fierro Perez with the Texas Freedom Network said the organization is working with its legal partners like the ACLU.
“Even if the government continues to attack us, we’re going to continue to show up for each other. So we are here in joyful resistance, continuing to show up for each other for kids for Texas,” she said.
Matt Sharp, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said states are perfectly entitled to enact laws similar to SB 14. ADF is co-counsel on lawsuits in states like Alabama and Arkansas.
“The states have the authority to regulate doctors and say ‘we think these are procedures that are harmful, that there’s poor science backing up their efficacy,'” Sharp said. “We have a duty as the state to protect minors from this and to pass legislation furthering those goals.”
Abigail Jones contributed to this report.