North Carolina Republicans quickly took advantage of their new veto-proof General Assembly supermajority.
On the same day that Rep. Tricia Cotham announced she was leaving the Democratic Party and joining the Republican Party — thus giving Republicans veto-proof supermajorities in the state House and state Senate — lawmakers announced new bills on transgender issues.
The bills protect minors from "gender-affirming" surgeries and medical interventions, restrict high school athletes to playing on sports teams consistent with their biological sex, and protect the medical industry.
- Senate Bill 631: The Fairness in Women's Sports Act prohibits transgender high school athletes from playing on sports teams corresponding to their gender integrity. For determining which team a student plays on, "a student's sex shall be recognized based solely on the student's reproductive biology and genetics at birth."
- Senate Bill 639: The Youth Protection Act will "protect minors from administration of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and other related actions, procedures, and treatments," including gender-related surgeries.
- Senate Bill 641: The Medical Ethics Defense Act protects medical practitioners, health care institutions, and health care payers from having "to participate in or pay for any health care service which violates his, her, or its conscience."
On Tuesday, the day before Cotham switched parties, Republicans also filed Senate Bill 560, known as the Medical Treatment for Minors Act. The bill prohibits doctors from providing "gender transition procedures to any individual under 18 years of age" unless a strict criteria are met.
Whether Cotham will support the bills is not yet known. She told WRAL-TV that she has not yet reviewed them. But if she does, they will become law even if Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetos them — so long as every other Republican supports them.
Another issue that may swing in conservatives' favor with Cotham now in the GOP is abortion.
North Carolina currently permits women to seek abortions up to 20 weeks, six days of gestation. But with Cotham's vote, that window may be narrowed in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Republicans in the Tar Heel State are reportedly seeking to ban abortion after 13 weeks.
Asked this week whether she would support such legislation, Cotham said she will not comment until a bill is filed.
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