Defending the family

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The bill would have banned puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender surgeries for minors.

The Kansas legislature failed to override the governor's veto of a ban on transgender medical procedures for children after two Republican lawmakers flipped their votes on Monday.

The failed bill would have banned puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender surgeries for minors.

The state Senate successfully voted 27-13 to override the governor's veto. However, the state House voted 82-43, just two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to push the bill past the veto.

Two Republicans broke ranks and voted with Democrats to tank the bill. State House Representatives Susan Concannon and Jesse Borjon voted against overriding the governor's veto even though both had previously voted in favor of the bill.

"We hear of bullying and ask authorities to make it stop," Concannon said from the House floor. "We hear about mental health, about suicide, and ask why. We're not listening to the impacted youth. Government involvement is not the answer."

"I voted for this bill in the past due to concerns about the surgery," she continued. "With further consideration, this bill is vague beyond the surgery. These decisions belong between the team of professionals and the parents. The youth need our help, not government overreach. To all who have reached out, I hear you, and vote to sustain the governor's veto."

The other Republican who voted against the bill, Borjon, said he "strongly supports" prohibiting gender reassignment surgery and "limiting" the use of hormone blockers, but that some parts of the bill "go too far in restricting mental and behavioral health care for children."

A Republican and physician who voted in favor, State Senator Mark Steffen, slammed the "woke health care system" for encouraging children to obtain medical gender treatments.

"Today I voted to protect our children from being mutilated," Steffen said.

Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, vetoed the ban earlier this month.

Kelly celebrated the legislature's failure to override her veto in a statement Monday night.

"I am glad that bipartisan members of the legislature have stood firm in saying that divisive bills like House Substitute for Senate Bill 233 have no place in Kansas," Kelly said. "The legislature's decision to sustain my veto is a win for parental rights, Kansas families, and families looking to call our state home."

Under the failed bill, children who were already on puberty blockers, estrogen, or testosterone would have been permitted to continue taking the drugs until the end of this year. However, their doctors would have had to come up with a plan to phase them off the drugs, as well as show that stopping the drugs immediately would endanger the child.

The bill would also have allowed people to sue doctors over transgender medical treatments for children. Doctors could also see their medical licenses revoked if they flouted the ban.

The measure would also have prohibited using state funds like Medicaid to promote transgender medical treatments. State employees would also have been barred from using pronouns that did not match a child's biological sex.

Two dozen states have laws or policies restricting transgender medical services for children.

In Europe, the momentum is even greater against transgender drugs and procedures for children. England and several other countries have severely restricted medical gender transitions for children.

Both puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones come with serious health risks. Puberty blockers can affect bone growth and density and cause sexual dysfunction, voice damage, and infertility, among other issues. Cross-sex hormones can cause infertility, deadly blood clots, heart attacks, increased cancer risks of the breasts and ovaries, liver dysfunction, worsening psychological illness, and other serious conditions.