The West Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill Friday to limit gender-affirming treatments and surgeries for transgender youth.
Two House committees approved House Bill 2007. A public hearing was held on the bill Thursday. On Friday, the chamber voted on final passage.
Prior to the vote, Del. Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, pressed Del. Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, for evidence to support the bill.
“Can you provide us with any evidence from Judiciary Committee or otherwise that these surgeries are even taking place in West Virginia?” Fluharty asked.
“We have no, there was no testimony provided in committee that there are surgeries taking place,” Capito replied.
Other opponents of HB 2007 noted that it expanded beyond its original purpose of restricting surgeries for minors. It also would ban hormone treatments and puberty blockers.
Del. Evan Hansen, D-Monongalia, argued that would have a negative impact on the mental health of transgender youth, who have higher rates of depression and suicide than their peers.
“Our trans youth are attempting suicide more than 10 times as often as other kids,” he said. “There’s a crisis. And evidence-based health care is helping address this crisis. It’s about keeping kids alive so they can make it to adulthood and be productive members of society.”
Supporters, such as Del. Geno Chiarelli, R-Monongalia, said HB 2007 was the kind of legislation voters wanted.
“This body effectively banned abortion last year, and now there’s more of us than there were before,” he said. “There’s a clear appetite for this kind of conservative legislation, and I urge you to vote yes.”
HB 2007 passed on a vote of 84 to 10. It now heads to the West Virginia Senate.