Texas House Republicans pass bill banning gender-affirming care for minors

Texas Republican leaders passed a bill that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors.

Democrats twice successfully delayed a vote on the bill in the House for technical reasons, but they were unsuccessful Friday night.

Hundreds of demonstrators came to the state capitol Friday to protest the passage of Senate Bill 14. 

After hours of debate Friday night, the bill passed.

For the third time, House Republicans brought a controversial bill aiming to block gender-affirming care for minors for a vote after twice being blocked by Democrats. 

Outside the Texas House chamber, hundreds of LGBTQ advocates gathered in protest. 

"To be trans in Texas is to be human in the place we call home," said Landon Richie with the Transgender Education Network of Texas.

Democrats and LGBTQ advocates held a rally before the debate, reading letters from transgender youth. 

"We will never stop fighting where trans youth have every opportunity to be thriving adults," Richie said.

Democrats have argued the bill is discrimination. Twice, they delayed a vote by the full House on technicalities. Running out of moves, they only sought to change portions of the bill on Friday.

Republican State Rep. Tom Oliverson, who represents parts of the Houston area, authored the bill. He claims doctors aren’t using what he calls "good clinical judgment." 

"This isn’t about parents. It’s about medical practice. That’s the purpose of this bill," Oliverson said.

"There are plenty of physicians in Texas that completely disagree with you," State Rep. Julie Johnson rebutted. 

"There were plenty of physicians that disagreed when we reigned in the abuses during the opioid epidemic, but sometimes the state as to act for the betterment," Oliverson said.

The first time the house brought up SB 14, protesters in the gallery were removed by DPS troopers. 

Friday, dozens of troopers were seen in the House gallery, but so far no reports of removals or arrests.

After hours of debate, the House passed SB 14 on a party-line vote.

The bill has to go through a third reading. Then the Senate has to agree on the changes before it goes to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, who is expected to sign it.