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Gender-affirming care, abortions impacted by defense bill

Updated: Jul 18, 2023


By E.V.E. Sacheverell

The United States House of Representatives voted on July 14 to pass a bill titled the National Defence Authorization Act. Hidden in this bill are a variety of provisions, chief amongst them a ban on military abortions and gender-affirming care. However, a second bill - an HHS bill - is being pushed through the House now.

This bill would prevent seemingly all insurance companies in the US from providing gender-affirming care. This bill will likely pass in the House, meaning that it would be up to the US Senate to strike it down. Nevertheless, it is not a given that the Senate will strike this bill down. Many moderate Democrats have shown that they are more than willing to support Republican agendas, regardless of whether their constituents want them to, or whether it hurts the very constituents they were elected to speak for.

This HHS bill cannot be allowed to pass. If it does, it would mean an end to legal gender-affirming care in the United States. According to this study published by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by Diana Tordoff, Jonathan Wanta, Arin Collin, Cesalie Stepney, David Inwards-Breland, and Kym Ahrens, transgender and non-binary individuals who ‘had received PBs [puberty blockers], GAHs [gender-affirming hormones], or both interventions… [had] 60% lower odds of depression… and 73% lower odds of suicidality.’

The sheer reduction in suicidality alone indicates that gender-affirming healthcare is necessary and life-saving for transgender and non-binary individuals. As such, any bills seeking to repeal it directly contrast scientific data. Furthermore, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Medical Association support the necessity of gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary individuals.

In recent years, Republicans in a variety of states have pushed gender-affirming care bans without any evidence to back them up. As such, we have seen a massive migration of affected individuals from those states to states that guarantee access to healthcare as well as non-discrimination in housing and employment. Such a migration is unprecedented and has never been seen before within a single nation. These bans put the US on par with nations such as Russia, which is currently dominated by a fascist oligarchy.

If you wish to support transgender and non-binary individuals in their search for safety within their home country, you might donate to the American Civil Liberties Union or Lambda Legal, both of which fight for the human rights of queer populations (amongst others), and contact your representative and tell them to vote no on the HHS bill.

E.V.E. Sacheverell is a writer for the Voice.

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