Kentucky Senate panel passes controversial ‘Do No Harm Act’

They’re now calling it the “Do No Harm Act”, but LGBTQ advocates say that’s exactly what it will do.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 12:04 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A very different version of House Bill 470 came before a Senate committee Tuesday morning.

The original focus was fixated on gender-affirming care for transgender children. Now, it’s been broadened to include language from Senate Bill 150 on the use of pronouns, as well as language about banning lessons on gender and sexuality and setting school bathroom policies.

They’re now calling it the “Do No Harm Act”, but LGBTQ advocates say that’s exactly what it will do.

Former state representative Jerry Miller came back to Frankfort to testify Tuesday. He says this bill would directly affect his seven-year-old trans grandchild.

“HB 470 will not quote ‘do no harm,’ quite the opposite. This bill condemns vulnerable children to an even more difficult life than they’ve already been born into,” Miller said.

Senator Karen Berg, D-Louisville, also shared a story of her late trans son, indicating he was trans as early as two years old.

Medical professionals and lobbyists came to testify on both sides, with bill sponsor Rep. Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy, calling on multiple people who say the gender-affirming care they received has caused them irreversible harm.

In the end, House Bill 470 passed by a 6-3 vote.

However, Senate Republicans largely said they were troubled by the bill or even didn’t like it but, when it came down to it, they all voted yes, except for Stephen Meredith, R-Leitchfield.

“Part of the thing that disturbs me most about this is children should wait until they’re 18 years of age before they have surgery for this. So, there are pros and cons either way, but my vote is no because I think the decision needs to rest with the parent,” said Sen. Meredith.

“There are no absolutes in this issue. The science, the data’s just simply not there. We all want to do what’s best for our kids and I don’t think, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” said Sen. Danny Carroll.

Some of those Senate Republicans also said they want and expect amendments to be made, or they will vote no on the full floor. If changes are to come, they’ll need to be made quickly, with the veto recess starting on Friday.