Media Contact

Paul Bowers, Communications Director:

January 10, 2024

COLUMBIA – In the name of protecting children, lawmakers in the South Carolina House of Representatives have rushed a bill to the House floor that would make it impossible for children and their parents to obtain medically necessary care.

House Bill 4624, a bill that would ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender South Carolinians under age 18 and threaten healthcare providers with the loss of their medical license, passed out of subcommittee on Wednesday and is being fast-tracked by leading Republicans in the House.

“As a transgender man who grew up in South Carolina, I want better for trans youth today. Their rights, and the rights of their families, are not a political plaything,” said ACLU-SC Executive Director Jace Woodrum. “Today we were disgusted but not surprised to see politicians throw out medical expertise, scientific evidence, and the heartfelt testimony of loving families of trans kids. A vote for this bill is to rip away healthcare from vulnerable kids who deserve much better.” 

The lawmakers pushing this bill can’t plead ignorance about the harm they are doing. For more than 3 hours Tuesday afternoon, a small army of pediatricians, counselors, educators, parents, trans adults, and friends of trans minors laid out the facts:

  • Gender-affirming care, including the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy, is a best practice backed by scientific evidence and endorsed by leading medical organizations
  • Gender-affirming care is life-saving care; it is the only effective treatment for trans youth to prevent self-harm and suicidal ideation
  • Patients currently cannot receive gender-affirming care without a lengthy process involving numerous medical professionals and the consent of parents or legal guardians
  • Gender confirmation surgery is not available to minors in South Carolina, regardless of parental consent

In all, 47 people spoke against H. 4624 on Tuesday in a subcommittee hearing. Parents and grandparents spoke about the struggles and triumphs of their trans children; doctors shared the mountain of medical evidence and their personal experience treating the mental health needs of transgender patients in their care.

One person, an out-of-state representative of the far-right Alliance Defending Freedom, spoke in favor via virtual testimony. In lieu of scientific research, Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood) cited some dubious statistics he misremembered from an episode of 60 Minutes. This was the sum total of “evidence” presented in favor of this harmful, hateful, ideologically motivated bill.

Lawmakers including Rep. Thomas Beach, who bragged last year about being a “gangster” because he pressured the Medical University of South Carolina to discontinue gender-affirming care, ignored the expert testimony and rammed the bill through.

Instead of killing the bill, a subcommittee voted 5-1 on Tuesday to advance it, and the full House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee voted 14-3 on Wednesday to advance the bill to the full House of Representatives. 


A panoramic shot of a committee of lawmakers under fluorescent lights in a conference room

The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee voted on Jan. 10, 2024, to advance a bill that would ban medically necessary care for transgender youth.

A crowd waving trans pride flags assembles on the State House steps

Supporters of trans youth rallied on the State House steps on January 10, 2024, in opposition to House Bill 4624.