Pittsburgh council protects gender-affirming care from out-of-state prosecution

Pittsburgh City Council members (from left) Bobby Wilson, Barb Warwick, Erika Strassburger, Daniel Lavelle, Deb Gross and Anthony Coghill pass legislation protecting gender-affirming care in the city during a meeting in the City-County Building on September 12, 2023. (Photo by Amaya Lobato Rivas/PublicSource)

Two bills, modeled after legislation protecting abortion from out-of-state prosecution, will bar city employees from assisting in investigations and proceedings regarding gender-affirming care.

by Erin Yudt, PublicSource

Two ordinances passed by Pittsburgh City Council this week are set to protect gender-affirming care as many states take steps to outlaw it.

The first bill aims to keep Pittsburgh healthcare providers safe from out-of-state prosecutions by barring city employees from assisting in investigations or proceedings against them in relation to gender-affirming care, which includes social, psychological, behavioral and medical practices supporting people whose gender identities conflict with their genders at birth. 

The second bill would only take effect if Pennsylvania adopted restrictive laws on gender-affirming care, a “worst-case scenario,” according to Councilmember Barb Warwick.

“The second bill would be enforced when gender-affirming care is criminalized at the state and/or federal level,” Warwick said. “It’s a bill that we are really happy to pass, but we hope that people do not ever need to use it.”

Both laws, sponsored by councilmembers Warwick, Bobby Wilson and Bruce Kraus, extend to  gender-affirming care health service providers, recipients and legal guardians. The first mirrors measures approved by city council last summer to protect abortion providers in Pittsburgh from out-of-state limitations and prosecution.

These initiatives come in the wake of 22 states passing legislation criminalizing gender-affirming care this year, including nearby West Virginia, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Ohio legislators have also introduced a bill criminalizing this care, which is awaiting a vote in the state House. 

Should a similar law be passed in Pennsylvania, or at the federal level, the second of the two city bills would only give city officials limited power to protect residents, by deprioritizing their enforcement. 

“If there is a court order, we might not be able to do much, but it will be at the bottom of our [priority] list,” said Warwick.


About Post Author


From the Web