After running from sports bill, guv signs trans surgery ban

After running from sports bill, guv signs trans surgery ban

After expressing doubt over the legislation, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (pictured) has signed a transgender surgery ban for minors. Last year he vetoed a trans-related bill that protects female-only sports. 

After running from sports bill, guv signs trans surgery ban

After vetoing a sports bill last year that protects girls, Indiana’s governor is being praised for signing legislation Wednesday that bans minors from undergoing sex-change operations and taking hormone treatments.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 480 which made Indiana the seventh state with a law barring children from those treatments. It also holds health care professionals accountable by providing child victims an opportunity to sue for damages.

Reacting to the bill’s signage, Meridian Baldacci of Family Policy Alliance said Indiana sent a “clear message” that its leaders take child safety seriously.

When a child is deeply struggling,” she said, “he or she deserves meaningful help – not the harm of hormones and surgery.”

Baldacci, Meridian (Family Policy Alliance) Baldacci

Baldacci said FPA, which is based in Colorado, was working on legislation barring transgender surgery on minors back in 2017. She also credited the Indiana Family Institute for working with state legislators to advance the bill.

Gov. Holcomb, a Republican who won re-election in 2020, had expressed concerns about Senate Bill 480, which he called vague and “clear as mud.”

Back in 2022, Holcomb vetoed a bill that bans biological males from participating in female-only sports. Despite the veto, the GOP majority in the House and Senate overrode his veto.

Indiana’s Democrats called the sports bill a “non-issue” last year because they said they were not aware of any incidents in which a transgender female, a boy, was participating on a girls’ team – as if learning of an incident would have changed their minds.

Holcomb made that same claim, too, suggesting there is no “evidence” the transgender issue is affecting sports programs in the state, AFN reported at the time.

At a rally against the sports bill, however, the mother of a “transgender girl” told PBS Newshour her son “dreams” of playing high school basketball and would be “crushed” if the sports bill becomes a state law. The age of the mentally confused child was not clear from the story. 

A year later, in the case of body-altering surgeries, Gov. Holcomb seemed to hold the line and not waver.

“Permanent gender-changing surgeries, with lifelong impacts and medically prescribed preparation for such a transition, should occur as an adult, not a minor,” he said in a statement.

Prior to Holcomb signing the bill, Micah Clark of American Family Association of Indiana told AFN an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers support banning hormones and treatments until the age of 18. If the Governor vetoes it, he said, the public will watch legislators override him and protect minors anyway. 

Clark, Micah (AFA of Indiana) (1) Clark

"They have to wait to vote. They hate to wait to drive a car. They have to wait to get a tattoo," he said. "Doing a life-altering surgery mutilating your healthy body parts is something we should not let minor children do." 

In a statement, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Matt Sharp also credited Gov. Holcomb for signing the bill and “take a standing for children and for truth” in The Hoosier State.

“Science and common sense tell us that children are not mature enough to properly evaluate the serious ramifications of making certain decisions,” he said, “including the decision to undergo dangerous and likely sterilizing procedures.”