Parents of transgender children say pharmacies already refusing hormone therapy
ATLANTA - Parents of transgender youth tell FOX 5 some pharmacies are already refusing to fill hormone therapy prescriptions after Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 140 into law. They say it is happening even though the ban curbing most gender-affirming surgeries and hormone replacement therapies does not go into effect until July 1 with caveats for those already in treatment.
Dr. Izzy Lowell, Physician and Founder of QueerMed, says in many cases, those are life-saving treatments.
"Many families are not happy about their child being transgender, but they want them to live so that’s where we start in a lot of cases is a suicidal teen," explained Lowell. "And then hopefully, we can get them on hormone treatment and then three months later at their next appointment, they're brighter, they stand up tall, they speak loudly, they look you in the eye, they're just... themselves."
Lowell pledges to help as many transgender youths as possible before the cutoff.
"Our practice will see patients until midnight on June 30," vowed Lowell.
After that, Lowell says new patients will face logistical hurdles if they want to initiate that same care.
"We cover 25 states, so they could go to any other state where we’re licensed, literally drive out over the Georgia border, into say Alabama, where there is a stay on the law there, sit in a parking lot, and then they can see us via telemedicine," explained Lowell. "Then we can get them started on hormone therapy treatment and then they can drive home."
At Chris 180, President and CEO Kathy Colbenson, says she is afraid families will not have access to life-saving care for transgender youth.
"My fear is that we’re going to have increased suicide idealization, increased depression, increased anxiety, and increase in actual suicides," said Colbenson.
Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement explaining he signed the bill to "protect the health and wellbeing of Georgia's children."
Colbenson says that statement is not in line with the state's action.
"I think it’s the height of hypocrisy because if you want to support children, and you want to support parental rights, then why for a subset population of children who are already incredibly vulnerable, are you interfering?" poised Colbenson.
Lowell says she is inundated with emails and calls from patients and families who are panicking.
"A mom said her 12-year-old daughter is afraid to go to school every day and told me this morning that she’s not sure she can go to school another day," recounted Lowell. "[she couldn't] go in and face these bullies and said I don’t know if I’m going to make it home today."