Doctors says new law banning gender-affirming care for minors is about politics, not health

ATLANTA — A ban on gender-affirming care for minors is now officially law.

The law banning doctors from treating children with hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery is set to go into effect in July.

On Friday, the ACLU promised to sue to overturn the law.

Now, one local doctor told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that she expects to see the suicide rate among transgender teens to skyrocket.

Transgender Health Specialist Dr. Izzy Lowell said this law will actually hurt children.

The American Medical Association asked the national governor’s association not to support these kinds of bills.

Republicans herein Georgia say they passed the law to protect children from irreversible medical procedures. Lowell said that’s not entirely true.

Elliot spoke with Lowell via Zoom on Friday. It’s the same way she sees many of her transgender patients -- via telemedicine.


Lowell guesses she has some 500 transgender teen patients in Georgia, and she said the new law banning certain medical procedures for them is less about medicine and more about politics.

“This is a really long process. It’s not like people walk into the office and walk out with a prescription for hormone replacement therapy. It takes years,” Lowell said.

Lowell said it takes support from family, legal guardians, and mental health professionals before the procedures happen.

Republican lawmaker Mark Newton is also a doctor in Augusta. He supported the law because he fears teenagers’ brains aren’t developed enough and they might make irreversible medical decisions they could later regret.

“We ask doctors not to do that on children. Let the child grow up enough to make their own informed decision as an adult and not have other adults making this decision for them,” Newton said.

While Lowell agrees teens’ brains haven’t yet fully developed, she insists gender is not a decision for many of these children -- it’s who they are.

“You’ve always known your gender. You can think back to when you were a child growing up. That’s something you just know. It’s not a decision. It’s not something that a teen wakes up one day and says no actually, I think I’m a boy instead of a girl. It’s something they have known for their life,” Lowell said.

The new law goes into effect on July 1.

Anyone undergoing those medical procedures will be grandfathered in, so Lowell said her clinic will be open until midnight on June 30 to take in patients.