INDIANAPOLIS — A bill to ban gender transitioning care for anyone under age 18 is moving forward at the Statehouse.

Senate Republicans passed Senate Bill 480 last month and on Tuesday it was approved by a House committee after hearing more than four hours of testimony.

“It would cause far less harm for these kids to wait, get the counseling they need, and then let them make these life-altering decisions as adults,” said State Sen. Tyler Johnson (R-Leo), the bill’s author.

Johnson’s bill would ban anyone under age 18 from receiving gender transitioning surgeries, hormone treatments and puberty blockers.

During a committee meeting last month, representatives for IU Health testified that Riley Children’s Hospital doesn’t perform any gender transitioning surgeries on patients under 18. 

Several parents emotionally testified against the bill, raising concerns about the potential impact of stopping gender affirming care for transgender youth.

“According to this bill, I only have a few months left to enjoy having my son back,” said Larisha Hanks. “A few months of smiles and laughter before the consequences of this bill will suck the life out of him.”

But others argue children are too young to make decisions about gender affirming care.

Xandra Roberts shared her experience of reversing her transition.

“I was 26 when I began testosterone,” Roberts said. “I believe that being an adult saved me from further damage. I did not interrupt my developing body, and I was able to recognize that testosterone was not helping anything.”

The committee passed the bill mostly along party lines, with all but one of the Republicans supporting it. State Rep. Ann Vermilion (R-Marion) joined all Democrats on the committee in voting against the bill.

Democrats argue these kinds of decisions should be left to doctors and families.

“It just sends a message that Indiana is not the place if you are trans, that we are not welcoming,” said State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis).

The bill now heads to the House floor.