(TOPEKA, Ks.) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, vetoed a ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth in the state.

“This divisive legislation targets a small group of Kansans by placing government mandates on them and dictating to parents how to best raise and care for their children,” said Kelly in a veto message on Friday. “I do not believe that is a conservative value, and it’s certainly not a Kansas value.”


She vetoed a similar bill almost one year ago, saying, “Companies have made it clear that they are not interested in doing business with states that discriminate against workers and their families.”

She continued, “By stripping away rights from Kansans and opening the state up to expensive and unnecessary lawsuits, these bills would hurt our ability to continue breaking economic records and landing new business deals.”

State GOP legislators may be able to override Kelly’s veto.


The legislature would need a two-thirds vote to override the veto — 84 in the House and 27 in the Senate. The Republican-backed bill has enough votes in the Senate to override the veto. In the House, two House Republicans who were previously registered as absent would need to also vote in favor of the bill to override the governor’s veto.

This bill restricts puberty blockers, which trans minors may use to delay the development of gendered characteristics. Puberty blockers are reversible and widely used on children who experience puberty earlier than what is typical.

The bill also restricts hormone therapy, which older minors may use for desired changes to certain gendered characteristics that are less reversible, including their body, hair or voice. The bill also restricts surgeries, which physicians say are rare for minors and only done in severe cases.


However, the bill allows exceptions for these procedures on minors who are intersex, have ambiguous sex characteristics, or have disorders of sex development.

Health care providers who violate these provisions could be subject to civil action and have their license revoked if the bill is passed.

The bill also restricts state employees or state facilities from supporting a minor’s social transitioning — including a change in pronouns or name, how they are dressed, and more.


Supporters of gender-affirming care bans say gender-affirming care is harmful for minors. Some argue trans youth should wait until they’re older to access gender-affirming care.

Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson, a Republican, applauded the legislation’s passage through the legislature.

“The Senate took a firm stand in support of helping and not harming children by making it clear that radical transgender ideology and the mutilation of minors is not legal nor welcome in Kansas,” Masterson said.


Critics of the gender-affirming care ban called the bill “more extreme and misinformed than similar bills in other parts of the country.”

“In addition to depriving parents and families of medical freedom, this bill actually punishes teachers, doctors, nurses, and more for just doing their jobs by respecting and supporting Kansas kids, including transgender kids,” said the ACLU of Kansas in a statement asking Kelly to veto the bill.

Transgender youth, often because of gender-related discrimination and gender dysphoria, are more likely to experience anxiety, depressed mood, and suicidal ideation and attempts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that hormone therapy can improve the mental health of transgender adolescents and teenagers.

Restrictions on access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth have been passed in at least 23 states, some of which have faced legal challenges that argue such bans violate the rights of the youth, their families and their medical providers. Gender-affirming care bans have been blocked in court in Arkansas, Idaho, Florida and Montana, but have been allowed in others.

According to the ACLU, more than 480 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the the U.S. At least 135 of those bills are no longer progressing through state legislatures, according to the ACLU.


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