ATLANTA (WSAV) — It’s cleared both chambers – Senate Bill 140 – adds penalties for doctors who attempt gender-affirming care for transgender youth.  

Governor Kemp signed the bill into law Thursday –  which would prevent hormone replacement therapies for transgender children under 18  and most gender-affirming surgeries.

“Hormone replacement therapy is safe. This is life-saving care for young people. This bill completely restricts it. It completely eliminates family’s choice for their youth,” said Sarah Hunt Blackwell, First Amendment Policy Advocate of ACLU of Georgia

Critics say it is state-mandated malpractice and is dangerous for trans youth and could increase suicide rates. 

“I don’t think the Georgia State legislature knows more about taking care of pediatric patients than the American Association of Pediatrics but that’s where we are,” said State Rep. Dr. Michelle Au (D-Atlanta). “I am very dismayed that this passed and I think it’s shameful.”

But supporters of the law say it protects children by allowing parents to make decisions for those under 18 and that these restrictions are needed to prevent children from making decisions they may later regret.

“SB 140 in Georgia is to stand up for our most vulnerable – our children. What we tried to do is prevent irreversible surgeries to children,” explained State Rep. Bo Hatchett (R-North East Georgia)

Hunt-Blackwell stated, “It limits surgery like I said wasn’t even on the table to begin with. Most physicians in Georgia don’t perform gender-affirming care on minors because it’s not advised on standard of care. What the bill also does criminalizes physicians or hospitals for civil penalties or criminal charges.”

Opponents argue that politicians should not be able to pass laws that supersede medical care standards and call the bill “unconstitutional.”