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Bill looking to ban gender-affirming treatments for minors fails in committee

Posted at 2:20 PM, Feb 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-12 16:20:33-05

PHOENIX — LGBTQ advocates celebrated at the state capitol on Wednesday after a bill looking to ban gender-affirming treatments for minors failed in committee.

The bill, SB1138, was sponsored by Republican state Senator Warren Petersen. If approved, it would have banned procedures and treatments for transgender children and teens looking to transition to another sex.

Petersen argued that young people were not old enough to make these decisions.

"This is nothing new to us," he said.

"We have several laws -- smoking, drinking, where you wait until a certain age and those certainly do not have the dramatic consequences that somebody can face with what we're discussing here," Petersen added.

After listening to hours of testimony, members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 4-4.

State Senator Tyler Pace was the only Republican to vote against the bill.

Pace said his decision came down to a parent's rights and how the treatments have helped.

"The testimonies we heard today and the many people using these avenues of medical treatments to save lives, to improve lives," he said.

"There's alternative ways for us to find what I would support which is gender reassignment ban until 18...but this bill I can't support," Pace added.

Before the vote, LGBTQ advocates hosted a press conference outside the building urging lawmakers to support transgender youth and vote no on the bill.

Some of the advocates argued that passing the bill would infringe on their rights and should be considered unconstitutional.

"That is our right as a parent to make medically-informed decisions for our own children," said Andi Young, a parent of a transgender child.

Additionally, the group Freedom for All Americans which tracks certain legislation said Arizona has the most anti-transgender bills being considered this legislative session with 12. 

Some of those bills like the one day today have already died. Others are progressing or have not been scheduled.