The Dangers of Senate Bill 140
In the last few years, state have advanced a number of bills that attack LGBTQ rights, especially those of transgender youth. During the 2023 Legislative Session, Georgia lawmakers have added to this trend, introducing bills aimed at restricting care to transgender youth and limiting what can be taught in schools about LGBTQ+ issues.
Senate Bill (SB) 140 is an anti-trans bill signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp that prevents transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming youth from receiving gender-affirming care in Georgia. Specifically, SB 140 bans surgical procedures and hormone replacement therapy for people under the age of 18 who are experiencing gender dysphoria. The bans are enforced by subjecting licensed physicians and medical providers to medical license revocation, civil penalties, and criminal charges for administering this care.
- SB 140 went into effect on July 1, 2023, unless Georgia courts temporarily pause its enforcement while anticipated litigation is pending.
- Transgender youth who begin hormone replacement therapy before July 1, 2023, are “grandfathered” in and can legally continue treatment beyond July 1.
- Hormone blockers, sometimes referred to as puberty blockers, can still be administered by physicians and used by transgender youth.
- Surgical procedures are still available for people born with biologically combined sex organs and for situations deemed “medically necessary” by a licensed physician.
- Hormone therapy is still available to treat other hormonally-induced conditions, including issues related to menstruation.
Families with Transgender Youth
I am the parent of a child who has expressed their desire to begin hormone replacement therapy. Can they receive this care if I provide consent to a licensed physician?
No. Unfortunately, SB 140 removed all parental and familial choice in pursuing gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The ban negates all forms of consent offered by youth, parents, guardians or family members.
Can I be criminally charged or held civilly liable for allowing my transgender child to receive hormone replacement therapy?
SB 140 does not create penalties for youth or parents seeking gender-affirming care. However, young people who do not begin hormonal transition by July 1, 2023, will be unable to access this care. Families supporting transgender youth who have begun hormone replacement therapy before July 1, 2023, will be able to continue treatment and will not face civil or criminal penalties.
What resources are available to help my loved one be more secure in their trans identity?
Multiple organizations and support groups exist for transgender youth in Georgia. Families should contact Georgia Equality and the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition for more information.
Medical Professionals Offering Gender-Affirming Care
Should I stop administering gender-affirming care to transgender youth?
After July 1, 2023, hospitals, licensed physicians and other medical professionals could face severe consequences for performing gender-affirming surgical procedures and beginning hormone replacement therapy for Georgia minors experiencing gender dysphoria who are new patients. SB 140 permits healthcare workers to continue hormone replacement therapy for minor patients who began hormonal transition prior to July 1, 2023. Consequences for violating SB 140 include revocation of medical board licenses, civil lawsuits and penalties, and criminal charges that could result in incarceration.
Who could I be sued by if I administer gender-affirming care to transgender youth?
Because the language of SB 140 does not specify who can file suit, the possibility is open to everyone, including parents acting on behalf of children who received care, adults who received care when they were minors, Georgia’s Attorney General, or unrelated individuals who become aware of medical professionals in violation of the law.
Is there a statute of limitations on lawsuits that can be initiated under SB 140?
No, there is no statute of limitations indicated in the bill. Consequently, medical professionals face the indefinite possibility of civil and criminal liability for violating SB 140.
If I am held civilly liable, can I also be held criminally liable, and vice versa?
Yes. SB 140 allows for simultaneous liability, as well as license revocation.
- Talking points on SB 140 from Georgia Equality
- Research survey from Patinkin Research Strategies on SB 140
- If you are a medical or nursing student, you can sign on to a letter that will be sent to legislators. Click here for your signature to be added to the letter.
- SB 140 social media toolkit