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White House threatens states for protecting children from gender surgeries, puberty blockers

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Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The White House is threatening to hold states "accountable" for passing laws that protect children from irreversible procedures used to transition genders.

What is the background?

On Thursday, Alabama lawmakers passed SB 184, which critics claim outlaws "gender-affirming" care for "transgender kids." In reality, the bill punishes physicians who prescribe puberty-blocking drugs or perform gender-transition surgery on children.

Lawmakers also approved HB 322, which would prohibit self-identifying trans students from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities. The bill also prohibits classroom instruction on "sexual orientation or gender identity" for students in grades K-5. The bill is being falsely tarnished as a "Don't Say Gay" bill, despite not preventing use of the word "gay."

What is the WH saying?

At the beginning of Thursday's press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki accused Republicans of "engaging in a disturbing, cynical trend of attacking vulnerable transgender kids for purely partisan, political reasons."

Psaki specifically targeted Alabama and Texas.

"Instead of focusing on critical kitchen-table issues like the economy, COVID, or addressing the country’s mental health crisis, Republican lawmakers are currently debating legislation that ... would target trans youth with tactics that threatens to put pediatricians in prison if they provide medically necessary, lifesaving healthcare for the kids they serve," Psaki said.

"Just like the extreme government overreach we’ve seen in Texas, where politicians have sent state officials into the homes of loving parents to investigate them for abuse — just to harass and intimidate the LGBTQI+ community — today’s vote in Alabama will only serve to harm kids," she added.

Psaki said the Justice Department has put lawmakers "on notice" for debating such "discriminatory bills," which she claimed may "violate the Constitution and federal law." Psaki did not clarify which federal laws or constitutional provisions the laws allegedly violate.

04/07/22: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki youtu.be


To bolster the administration position, Psaki claimed "every major medical association agrees that gender-affirming health care for transgender kids is a best practice and potentially lifesaving."

According to Psaki, Biden will hold "accountable" states that pass laws protecting children.

"President Biden has committed in both words and actions to fight for all Americans and will not hesitate to hold these states accountable," she said.

Psaki, however, did not state what action the government will take against states protecting children. At most, the DOJ could sue or the administration could withhold federal funds, but only with congressional approval.

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