Transgender youth and their families living in states where legislatures are targeting gender-affirming healthcare would be protected from legal action if they come to California, under legislation introduced Thursday.
A bill by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would render unenforceable in California any out-of-state court judgments seeking to remove children from their parents' custody because they have received gender-affirming surgeries, hormone therapy and other transgender medical care.
Attempts by Texas and Idaho to criminalize healthcare for transgender minors have so far stalled amid national outcry, but dozens of similar bills have been introduced in red states across the country.
Wiener's bill, backed by Democratic leadership, would block out-of-state court judgments related to such care from being recognized by California courts.
The bill would void any subpoena seeking information about people traveling to California to receive gender-affirming care related to "efforts to criminalize individuals or remove children from their homes" for having received any such medical treatments.
The American Medical Assn. opposes legislation that prohibits gender transition-related care for minors, calling such efforts “a dangerous intrusion into the practice of medicine.”
Wiener's bill would also flag warrants related to someone from out of state receiving gender-affirming care "the lowest priority for law enforcement" in California.
“What states like Texas and Idaho are doing to trans kids and their parents is unconscionable, and we must send a clear signal that California is a place of refuge for LGBTQ people,” Wiener said in a statement. “The history of the LGBTQ community is a history of criminalization and violence: society trying to erase us and then punishing us if we refuse to be erased, whether by death, incarceration, beatings, lobotomies, electric shock therapy, conversion therapy or other forms of violence. California will not be a party to this new phase of deadly LGBTQ criminalization.”
A bill that overwhelmingly passed the Idaho House would have made it a felony for parents to consent to, and for medical professionals to provide, gender-affirming care to transgender minors. It would have also made it illegal for parents to take their children out of state to seek the treatment.
The Idaho Senate killed that bill Wednesday, with Republicans saying that although they do not support transgender medical care for minors, medical decisions should be left to parents.
Last week, a Texas judge blocked the state from investigating gender-affirming care for minors after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that families with transgender children receiving medical treatment be inspected for child abuse.
Despite those developments, Wiener said there is still concern of a growing trend of anti-transgender legislation.
"Given recent trends in anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion legislation, other Republican-controlled states no doubt will pursue similar legislation and executive action," Wiener said.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.