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Advocates react after Texas House delays bill aimed at banning gender-affirming care for children

Senate Bill 14, which would ban gender-affirming treatment for children, will head back to the House committee.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Democrats claimed a small victory on Friday after Senate Bill 14, which would ban transgender youth from receiving puberty blockers and hormone therapies, was delayed for the second time this week.

A vote of acceptance from the House is the last step before it can head to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

Advocates on both sides of the issue showed up on Friday to listen to the debate.

Norma Loctracco said she made the trip from Brazoria County and will keep making it "until this bill is dead." Loctracco said SB14 is a personal fight for her, but she is also advocating for others. 

"My son – he's not a minor anymore, but I know what it was like when he was a minor ... the calls from the school and the questions from the counselor asking medical questions, you know, it's none of your business," Loctracco said. "I'm here to fight for them. And I'll fight to the end. I'll make those 7-hour round trips as often as I need to."

Michelle Evans, who supports the measure, believes the delay is only a small hiccup and that the Legislature will eventually pass it.

"My biggest message is no one is born in the wrong body. You're made the way that you're made, and you should be very happy and proud of that," Evans said. "I understand that people have anxiety, depression, but it doesn't mean that any of that internalizes and needs to be fixed or cured with sterilizing medications or mutilating surgery."

The delay comes on the heels of an investigation launched by Attorney General Ken Paxton's office into Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin to see if doctors have performed gender-transitioning procedures on minors. 

“Across the country, there are doctors and health care professionals who appear willing to sacrifice the long-term health of American children, all in service to the increasingly dangerous fad of ‘transgender’ extremism. It is deeply disturbing, and there is no place for it in Texas. Along these lines, there have been a number of recent reports about potentially illegal activity at Dell Children’s Medical Center, and this investigation aims to uncover the truth," Paxton said in a statement Friday.

In response, a spokesperson for the hospital pointed to a statement made on its Twitter page from April 28, which stated that Dell Children's Medical Group prohibits surgery and hormone therapies for children and that they are reviewing the situation.

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