CHARLESTON, West Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — West Virginia joined the growing ranks of states moving to protect children from chemical and surgical mutilation.
The West Virginia House approved legislation on Friday that would ban physicians from providing “irreversible gender reassignment surgery or gender altering medication” to anyone under 18 years old.
The bill specifically defines “gender altering medication” as “puberty blocking medication to stop or delay normal puberty,” testosterone and other male hormones for females, and estrogen for males.
It defines “irreversible gender reassignment surgery” as “a medical procedure performed for the purpose of assisting an individual with a gender transition,” including surgeries to sterilize children or otherwise mutilate their reproductive organs.
READ: South Dakota House passes ban on ‘gender transitions’ for minors
The bill includes exemptions for children born with a “medically verifiable disorder” and for individuals undergoing “treatment of any infection, injury, disease, or disorder that has been caused by or exacerbated by the performance of gender transition procedures.”
West Virginia’s Republican-dominated House passed the measure 84-10 along party lines.
During debate on Friday, Republican Del. Jim Butler warned that teenagers’ brains are not developed enough to make decisions that they will “live with for the rest of their lives.”
“That’s why we don’t have voting below 18 years old,” he said, “that’s why we don’t send our children into circumstances where they have to make this type of decision in any other case that I can think of.”
Fellow Republican Del. Geno Chiarelli stressed that the bill reflected the will of West Virginia’s conservative voters, who elected the state’s largest-ever Republican legislative super-majorities last year.
“This body effectively banned abortion last year, and now there’s more of us here than before,” he said. “There’s an appetite for this kind of legislation, and I encourage you all to vote yes.”
“We can be pro-active instead of reactive,” he stated. “That’s the kind of conservative legislators that our voters want.”
The bill now goes to the West Virginia Senate, which has a 31-3 Republican majority.
READ: Florida warns against ‘sex changes’ for children, blasts Biden administration guidance
Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are linked to serious and potentially life-threatening side effects, including cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Neither type of drug has been approved by the FDA for gender dysphoria or studied in randomized controlled trials or longitudinal studies with gender-confused minors.
So-called “gender-reassignment” surgeries result in irreversible mutilation and sterilization, and research shows that those who undergo them have exponentially higher suicide rates.