Statement by Johanna Haynes, CEO
Careteam Plus, INC
JOHANNA HAYNES, CEO: On Tuesday, January 9, 2024, I spoke to the SC House Medical, Military and Municipal Affairs Committee to oppose House Bill H. 4624. I then did an interview with WPDE on Wednesday because of that testimony. We have received some negative posts indicating that I support “mutilation of children”. You should hear directly from me why I testified and that I did so in advocacy of our patients.
I DO NOT support mutilation of children.
Although the bill does address genital reassignment surgeries, unless an infant is born with ambiguous sexual characteristics including, but not limited to XY chromosomes with under virilization or having both ovarian and testicular tissue, no physical surgeries have ever been and according to this law never will be performed on a child under the age of 18. These surgeries happen during infancy. I support this provision.
What I did not support is if school administration and personnel, including counselors who have been told by the child, as defined up to age 18, that he/she does not identify with their current gender, the school must notify the parent. This is mandated whether the child is psychologically ready to be open about these feelings or not. I believe when to share these feelings should be left up to the individual and supported by a mental health professional not the government.
The Bill requires termination of puberty-blockers or hormone therapies that have already been initiated in children under 18, which I do not support. Unless the child, typically a teenager, wishes to stop these therapies, I think termination would create terrible psychological and social consequences for the child. These consequences could include peer bullying, acting out, aggression, depression, suicide ideation and even death.
This bill also prohibits government funds (Medicaid) from being used to provide hormone replacement therapies to individuals between the ages of 18-26. I oppose this for the same reason as stated above. If a therapy has been initiated and supported by the adult, the government has no right to stop it.
This law takes away parental rights to make decisions for their children and adults from working with their health care professional on health care issues that should not involve government intervention. In my opinion, this bill is government overreach.
No one walks into a physician’s office, tells him/her they are Trans and starts hormone therapy that day. Especially with children under the age of 18. This is a process that includes the physician working with the child, the parents, a psychiatrist and a qualified therapist. The child typically must dress and live as the opposite sex for at least a year prior to initiation of hormones and, surgeries are not considered until after the age of 18. Adults also work with their health care professional, a psychiatrist and a qualified therapist.
Careteam Plus is a primary and pediatric care facility that provides healthcare to everyone, no matter how one identifies or based on their genetic makeup. We do offer care and will continue to offer care to the Trans community. Careteam Plus does not have a pediatrician who specializes in or who treats Trans children for gender identity. We will continue to be an ally and treat all of our patients to the best of our capabilities for we believe that healthcare is a human right for all.