Doctors performing gender-affirming treatment, abortions on minors protected in WA

Apr 7, 2023, 12:17 PM | Updated: 12:30 pm

gender-affirming treatment...

Demonstrators in support of trans-children and gender affirmation treatments rally. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso via Getty Images)

(Photo by Joseph Prezioso via Getty Images)

Doctors performing gender-affirming treatment and abortions, including operations on minors, will now be protected in the state of Washington once Governor Jay Inslee signs the bill after it passed through the House and Senate.

The bill, originally set to take effect 90 days after it’s signed, will now be in place immediately after the Governor signs it through an emergency clause. It passed on a 57-40 partisan vote in the House.

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While the legislation does not protect illegal operations in the state, both “reproductive health-care services and gender-affirming treatment by medical providers does not constitute unprofessional conduct under the Uniform Disciplinary Act (UDA) and may not serve as the basis for professional discipline,” the legislation read.

In addition, doctors working in states where the above medical practices are barred or illegal can come to Washington state to conduct said procedures without facing discipline.

Disciplining authorities, through the Uniform Disciplinary Act, can define unauthorized practice and assigns punishments, including suspension, revocation, or restriction of an individual’s license.

The bill also excludes protections against procuring or aiding and abetting, a criminal abortion.

“The bill ensures provider protections in light of new restrictions in other states,” the staff summary of public testimony wrote in the legislation. “Providers in Washington should be able to provide legal procedures in this state without fear of disciplinary action, retribution, or criminal action. Doctors should be able to provide comprehensive care without fear.”

But a deterrent to the bill, argued by the conservative minority in the Legislature, is it fails to protect parents’ rights.

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“Children do not have the capacity to consent to gender reassignment surgeries, and this bill increases the likelihood of damage to citizens in the name of gender transition,” the staff summary continued.

Christina Callahan of the Conservative Ladies of Washington issued the arguments against the bill.

Republicans tried to move an amendment on the Senate floor to set a minimum age of 18 for reproductive procedures covered under the bill, but the amendment was defeated. In Washington state, the minimum age to make a decision on a personal operation without parents’ consent is 13 years old.

Earlier this week, Indiana became the 14th state to ban gender-affirming care for minors, joining 10 other states with similar legislation, including Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Arizona, Utah, South Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

“Permanent gender-changing surgeries with lifelong impacts and medically prescribed preparation for such a transition should occur as an adult, not as a minor,” Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said in a prepared statement.

Approximately 300,000 children between the ages of 13 to 17 identify as transgender, according to estimates from UCLA’s Williams Institute. Of these, nearly 27% are estimated to live in states that have issued bans on gender-affirming treatments.

In addition to Washington issuing legal protections for doctors and medical practitioners, Inslee signed a new law this week that allows transgender people to seal court records of their name changes — the goal being to prevent ensuing harassment.

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Doctors performing gender-affirming treatment, abortions on minors protected in WA