Pennsylvania Amendment Would Deny Transgender Youth Access to Health Care ServicesOctober 20, 2017 • 10:37 am
WASHINGTON – A handful of lawmakers in Pennsylvania are trying to block transgender youth from receiving access to basic healthcare services. State Senator Donald White (R-41) is pushing a dangerous amendment to legislation that would reauthorize the state’s popular and essential Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). White’s amendment would ban transgender youth from accessing important medical services, including primary care physicians, affordable medicine, and essential counseling services.
Pennsylvania’s CHIP program provides access to affordable healthcare coverage for approximately 174,000 kids under the age of 19 across the commonwealth – youth who come from families that are unable to afford private healthcare coverage.
“This is a despicable attempt to hurt transgender youth,” said Kasey Suffredini, Acting CEO & President of Strategy at Freedom for All Americans. “This amendment would fundamentally deny transgender youth the health care services they need to live healthy and safe lives. We’re no strangers to extremist lawmakers using disrespectful rhetoric and even advancing bills that undermine the legal equality of transgender people – but Sen. White’s amendment represents a new level of cruelty. We strongly urge his colleagues in Harrisburg to reject this effort to harm transgender kids.”
Transgender youth in Pennsylvania face a number of challenges in living their lives safely and openly: earlier this year, the Trump Administration rescinded non-binding guidance that ensured students in public schools could use restrooms and changing facilities that align with their gender identity. And Pennsylvania is one of 32 states across the country that doesn’t have an explicit and comprehensive law that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace, in public spaces, and in access to housing.
“Lawmakers who back discriminatory measures such as this amendment are creating an increasingly hostile atmosphere for LGBTQ people, and for transgender youth in particular,” added Suffredini. “State lawmakers should be moving to protect their citizens at a time when the federal government is abdicating its responsibility to fairness under the law. Instead, we’re seeing some elected officials in Harrisburg look for new and even crueler ways to harm transgender people.”
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.