(The Center Square) – Louisiana could outlaw hormone treatments and surgeries to treat gender dysphoria under a bill approved by the House Health and Welfare Committee on Tuesday.

Lawmakers voted 14-3 to approve House Bill 463, sponsored by Rep. Michael Firment, R-Grant, to prohibit any physician or medical professional from performing any gender transition procedures or hormone therapy for any person under the age of 18.

The bill would also prohibit the use of public funds for gender assignment procedures. HB463 would further subject physicians who violate the provisions to disciplinary action, while providing a cause for legal action for impacted families.

Firment cited an “exponential increase” in gender dysphoria cases in recent years and several progressive European nations that have reversed course on gender affirming care to recommend counseling and waiting.

He also pointed to numerous states that have approved bans on the procedures and treatment, with others considering the same.

“Every single state around us has approved legislation to protect their children,” he said. “If we don’t pass this bill, Louisiana will become the destination in the South for these procedures.”

Firment and numerous others who testified cited research suggesting the majority of youth who experience gender dysphoria eventually return to their biological gender with counseling.

Pediatricians both for and against the bill testified in committee, along with youth who reversed their transitions, parents on both sides of the issue, transgender residents and officials from various advocacy groups. Dozens of cards were submitted both for and against HB463.

“In the context of providing gender affirming care, terrible things are being done,” New Iberia pediatrician Maurice Faugot said. “It saddens me to say this, but these physicians and their hospitals have lost their way.”

Other medical professionals explained to the committee limits on child brain functioning and decision making.

Two youth who testified detailed the lifelong health complications they now face as a result of their transitions, which they said was motivated both by encouraging physicians and grooming from online transgender advocates.

He argued that the “watchful waiting” approach now the standard in European countries would hurt patients.

“Waiting and doing nothing is doing something, and it’s causing harm,” he said.

Several lawmakers on the committee expressed concern that minors could technically receive treatment without parental consent, though Pasternak argued doctors “generally” require it.

Others expressed concerns the state could lose Medicaid funding by approving the bill.