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Tennessee GOP senators OK criminalizing helping minors get transgender care, mimicking abortion bill

By 37ci3 Apr12,2024

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee lawmakers are considering criminalizing adults who help minors receive gender-affirming care without parental consent, a proposal moving forward in one of the states most eager to adopt the policies. Aimed at the LGBTQ community.

Republican senators advanced the bill by a 25-4 vote Thursday. Now it must similarly clear the GOP-dominated House.

The bill contains nearly identical language the so-called “anti-abortion trade” A proposal that the Senate approved only a day earlier. In this version, supporters hope to stop adults from helping young people obtain abortions without the permission of their parents or guardians.

Both bills are broadly applicable. Critics noted that the violations could range from talking to a teen about a website about where to find care to helping that teen move to another state with looser restrictions on gender-affirming care services.

“In two days, we’ve passed two bills that regulate the kinds of conversations that people can have with each other,” said Democratic state Sen. Jeff Yarbrough. “We shouldn’t be trying to infringe on constitutional rights, and that’s what this is trying to do.”

State Sen. Janice Bowling, the Republican sponsor, largely refrained from discussing the bill, reading portions of the proposed statute and a summary in lieu of questions from Democrats.

Till now, Idaho is the only state The United States has passed a law that criminalizes adults who assist minors in obtaining abortions without first obtaining parental consent. That law is temporarily blocked amid federal legal challenges.

Meanwhile, among Republican-led states including Tennessee, no state has yet imposed restrictions on helping youths receive gender-affirming care, despite banning such care for most minors.

Instead, some Democratic states seek to protect health care providers if they provide prohibited health care services in a patient’s home.

Recently, Maine drew criticism for a shield law proposed by a group of 16 state attorneys general, led by Tennessee’s Jonathan Skrmetti.

Under the bill, providers would be protected from “adversary” claims.

The attorneys general called the proposal “constitutionally flawed” and vowed in a letter to Democrat Janet Mills and other legislative leaders to “vigorously take advantage of all the opportunities our Constitution provides.”

“Maine has the right to decide what the laws are and how those laws are to be enforced. But this right belongs to every state. One state cannot control another. The totalitarian impulse to stifle dissent and suppress dissent has no place in our shared America,” the attorneys general wrote in March.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey responded in a letter to Skrmetti that the allegations were “baseless.” He wrote that 17 states and Washington have already passed similar shield laws.

“Unfortunately, shield laws have become necessary because of the efforts of some dissenting states, Maine and other states, to punish lawful behavior outside their borders,” Frey said.

The proposal introduced Thursday in Tennessee is just one of several the Volunteer State has approved targeting LGBTQ people.

For example, House lawmakers took a final vote on Thursday to send Gov. Bill Lee a bill that would ban state money from being spent on hormone therapy or sex-reassignment procedures for inmates — though it would not apply to state inmates currently receiving hormone therapy.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. John Ragan, said about 89 inmates received such treatment.

In the past, Tennessee Republicans have tried to limit events in certain locations drag performers may appearand permits, but does not require, LGBTQ children will be placed in families with anti-LGBTQ beliefs.

Schools have already approved legal protections for teachers Do not use the transgender student’s preferred pronoun, limited transgender athletesof limited transgender students use of baths their alignment with gender identity and allowed parents to exclude students from classroom conversations about gender and sexuality.

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By 37ci3

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