By Susan Payne
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that aims to protect transgender youth and families fleeing from red-state policy bans against gender-affirming care.
Senate Bill 107 provides safeguards meant to block out-of-state-attempts to penalize families that come to California seeking medical treatment for transgender children and teens, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Newsom said in message that state laws attempting to ban medical care for transgender people younger than 18 “demonize” the community and are an act of hate.
“In California we believe in equality and acceptance. We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need — including gender-affirming care,” Newsom said. “Parents know what’s best for their kids, and they should be able to make decisions around the health of their children without fear. We must take a stand for parental choice.”
California courts and attorneys are prohibited from enforcing subpoenas requested by other states about gender-affirming care for minors and healthcare providers releasing medical information, according to the LA Times.
Any potential out-of-state arrest warrant for violating laws related to such are will be given “the lowest law enforcement priority,” according to Newsom.
“While attacks on the transgender community are not new, we are experiencing alarmingly blatant attempts to use legislation, policy and political rhetoric to restrict or eliminate the autonomy, freedom and existence of transgender people across the country,” the advocacy group Equality California said in a statement of support for the bill.
More than 20 Republican-led states have introduced legislation to outlaw gender-affirming care for young people and to penalize parents and healthcare providers who allow it, according to the LA Times.
“We don’t know what’s going to play out in appeal or if states will find other kinds of laws they can get through to courts,” Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said in an interview before the bill’s passage. “It would be absolutely negligence for us to say we’re not going to do anything until one of these laws gets upheld and someone gets put in prison.”
“We can’t solve everything in one bill. We’re making sure that people who are being criminalized have a place to go,” Wiener said. “This bill is about giving people refuge.”
Forms of gender-affirming care include social, psychological, behavioral and medical interventions designed to support and affirm gender identity.
State Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), who is running against Newsom for governor, said that children “really don’t know what their identity is,” and that the legislation would insert the state into family custody battles, according to the LA Times.
“If one parent is for it and the other is against it, the state now will be in the middle of that decision,” Dahle said on the Senate floor before voting against the measure. “This bill is basically putting the state in your home.”