(The Center Square) – Illinois’ elected officials are offering different views on the future of gender-affirming health care in Illinois.
Gender-affirming care, as defined by the World Health Organization, encompasses a range of social, psychological, behavioral, and medical procedures “designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity” when it conflicts with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Incumbent Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul offered his support of the practice in Illinois.
“Transgender people deserve access to gender-affirming care, and I am committed to fighting against health care discrimination,” Raoul said. “I will continue to work with my fellow attorneys general to support the rights of transgender people and oppose efforts that jeopardize the safety and health of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Raoul’s office said he also joined a coalition of attorneys general opposing an Alabama law that restricts such care for youth.
The Illinois Freedom Caucus, which is made up of Illinois lawmakers, has spoken out against it and against Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for offering the services.
State Rep. Adam Niemerg of the IFC said the group has issues with what ages are eligible for the care.
“These procedures are being offered at a particular point in time where these children, they don’t know if they want chicken nuggets or cheeseburgers for dinner, let alone being able to make these life-altering decisions,” Niemerg, R-Dieterich, said.
Neimerg told The Center Square that Lurie Children’s Hospital’s decision to offer the services to children could have long-term consequences.
“I completely disagree with their decision. Again, I believe children should be protected as they are our most valuable asset, and for them to be making these decisions and leading them down this path, these children could grow up 20, 30 years down the road with severe damage,” Neimerg said.
The caucus said it will be introducing legislation “to ban chemical castrations and gender surgeries for minors in Illinois.” Until that is approved, the group said it’s calling on the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago “to cease providing these services to minors.”
The hospital offered this statement on its website about the procedures.
“For even the most loving, affirming, and resilient families, navigating childhood gender identity development can be confusing,” the statement reads. “We help navigate these challenges by providing our families with education, exceptional and affirming clinical care, support, and ongoing consultation to ensure that children and families flourish safely in an environment that is both nurturing and affirming.”