The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted Tuesday to pass a bill barring transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming health care, sending the measure to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has vowed to veto it.
Assembly Bill 465 was approved in a 22-10 vote, with nearly all Democrats voting against it and all Republicans voting for it.
If passed, the proposed legislation would prohibit health care providers in Wisconsin from administering gender-affirming medical care — including puberty blockers, doses of testosterone or estrogen and certain surgeries — to transgender minors “for the purpose of changing the minor’s body to correspond to a sex that is discordant with the minor’s biological sex.”
Identical treatments would still be available to minors “born with a medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development,” according to the bill.
Democrats during Tuesday’s floor debate argued that passing the bill would harm the state’s transgender youths by denying them care considered medically necessary by every major medical organization.
“This bill is nothing short of cruel,” state Sen. Mark Spreitzer (D) said Tuesday.
Republicans, meanwhile, said children and adolescents need to be protected from making health care decisions they may later regret, and suggested the opinions of medical experts — who overwhelmingly support gender-affirming care for transgender youths and adults — are likely to change.
Evers has pledged to veto the measure, along with two others that would prevent transgender women and girls from competing on female school sports teams. All three bills were passed last week by the state Assembly, which is also controlled by Republicans.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — not one of these bills will become law in Wisconsin as long as I am governor. Period,” Evers wrote last week in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
While Republicans hold majorities in both the Wisconsin House and Senate, they do not have enough votes to override the governor’s vetoes.