Kansas Governor Laura Kelly Vetoes Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

Laura Kelly

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a bill that aimed to prohibit gender-affirming care for minors, sparking a clash with Republican lawmakers. In her statement, Kelly argued that the legislation interferes with parental rights and infringes upon the conservative and Kansas values of individual freedom. The bill, which previously passed the state Senate with a veto-proof majority, faces a potential override by the GOP-controlled Legislature during a scheduled veto session.

Laura Kelly’s Veto

This veto marks a continuation of Kelly’s opposition to similar measures, underscoring a broader debate between Republicans and Democrats on transgender rights. While Republicans assert that the bill safeguards children, Democrats and advocates argue it violates the rights of transgender individuals. Kansas joins over 20 other states in attempting to restrict gender-affirming care, reflecting the issue’s prominence within the Republican Party.

If enacted, the bill would prohibit gender-affirming treatments for transgender and nonbinary youth, including puberty blockers and surgeries, while allowing civil lawsuits against doctors who provide such care. Additionally, state funds would be barred from promoting these treatments, and state employees would be forbidden from recognizing a minor’s preferred pronouns if they differ from their assigned sex at birth.

This measure extends previous efforts by the Legislature to limit transgender rights, following the enactment of an anti-trans sports ban in the previous year.