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Holcomb signs ban on gender transition care for children

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Governor Eric Holcomb signed into a law a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors in Indiana, his office confirmed Wednesday.

Holcomb faced an April 5 deadline to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

Holcomb originally told News 8 government reporter Garrett Bergquist that he wouldn’t “dither” in deciding the bill’s fate.

The bill Republican state lawmakers advanced last week would prohibit transgender youth under 18 from accessing hormone therapies, puberty blockers and surgeries in the state.

“It wasn’t part of my agenda,” Gov. Holcomb told reporters Tuesday. “I’ve told some people very close to me: This is clear as mud. There’s some vagueness to it. So I want to make sure I completely understand.”

The new law is set to take effect July 1, but would give trans youth until the end of 2023 to stop taking gender transition medication.

“This is a devastating development for transgender youth in Indiana and heartbreaking for all of us who love and support them,” Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director, said in a statement. “Indiana politicians continue to fail trans youth, so it is up to each and every one of us to rise against their ignorance and surround these young people with strength, safety, and love. In addition to targeting an already vulnerable group, this law blatantly disregards the rights of parents and families to make decisions about their children’s health.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of four transgender youth and their families, as well as a doctor and health care clinic.

Henegar said he is confident the new law will be declared unconstitutional.

Sen. Mike Braun, who has declared his campaign for governor in 2024, applauded Holcomb’s decision to sign the bill.

“A child cannot consent to irreversible sex change surgery, and Indiana will no longer allow children to take dangerous drugs with long-term consequences like puberty blockers and hormone therapies in the name of extreme gender theories,” Braun said in a statement. “These kids are clearly having a hard time, and we need to give them compassion and mental health help rather than dangerous, un-tested, unapproved drugs and irreversible surgeries.”

The governor’s office said he signed 11 other bills into law Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.