LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The Acadiana Senator whose vote blocked a proposed bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for minors is speaking out after receiving backlash on social media.
Senator Fred Mills said he made his decision based on science and data, not political pressure. He explained there have also been misunderstandings about the bill. The aim was not to ban gender-altering surgeries, as that’s already illegal.
“The standards of care for a physician in Louisiana prohibits those types of surgeries. If those surgeries are taking place, then a doctor is committing malpractice. So the law right now protects these children,” says Senator Mills.
The main issue Senator Mills says he had was the bill would ban physicians from prescribing certain drugs to transgender children for hormonal replacement or hormonal blocking.
“In certain pediatric situations, these drugs are very necessary for a very, very small select group of children, and I always have felt and always will feel that a physician should make the decision on what’s best for their patient, not a politician,” the senator added.
Senator Mills says if this bill passed, any transgender child on any type of hormone replacement or hormone blocker would have to be weaned off of it by a doctor. That could be very problematic for a child already stabilized on these treatments.
In addition, he says there’s only a very small population of children on these medicines.
“As far as hormonal treatment, that is a very, very, very last effort. If needed, I just want the opportunity for a physician to be able to utilize that in the treatment of care,” Senator Mills said.
He also says after two hours of testimony from physicians on Wednesday in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, he learned there have been zero gender-altering surgeries done to children in Louisiana.
“No child in Louisiana has ever had or should be having surgery to remove any of their body parts, as far as that’s concerned. That doesn’t happen, and it’s not legally allowed according to the standards of care for a physician. Like I said, I really believe that to restrict a physician to be able to prescribe medication is not sound policy,” he added.
While Senator Mills faced criticism, he’s also had supporters, including Davante Lewis, Louisiana’s Third District Public Service Commissioner. Lewis is also one of the first openly LGBTQ+ people to be elected to a state office.
“By killing this bill, it showcases that here in Louisiana, we are going to talk truth. We’re going to talk fact, and we’re going to rely on experts to tell us what’s going on. I believe these decisions are best left between a parent, that child, and the medical professionals, not politicians in Baton Rouge who want to make political talking points,” Lewis said.
Again, the bill failed Wednesday in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, but as the legislative session is not over, Senator Mills says it’s hard to predict what will happen in the coming weeks.
Governor John Bel Edwards has said in the past that these kinds of bills distract from the bigger issues facing the state. When asked his thoughts on the possibility of the bill coming back, the governor said the senate should respect the will of the committee and listen to real medical professionals.
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