By Guy Page
In a December 5 interview on WVMT’s The Morning Drive, Sen. Phil Baruth, the leader (“Pro Tem”) of the Vermont Senate, appears to support legislation allowing minors to begin puberty blockers without parental approval.
H659, introduced January 18 2022, would “allow a minor who identifies as transgender to consent to receiving hormone blockers and other nonsurgical, gender-affirming care and treatment without requiring parental consent.” The bill is considered likely to be reintroduced after the 2023-24 Legislature convenes next Wednesday, January 4. The following transcript was lightly edited for readability.
Caller: Good Morning, I have two questions, generally the same topic about House bill 659. Just introduced this year and probably coming your way soon enough. The bill allows for children to chemically castrate themselves without parental consent. I was wondering once it gets to the Senate, would you support it?
Sen. Phil Baruth: I’m wondering, you gave a house bill number, but all of the bills from the previous biennium are dead. So, there are no bills yet. I’m curious, what I think. Maybe you’re talking about a bill that is no longer in the process.
Morning Drive host Kurt Wright: Yeah, As some might not know all the bills when a new legislative comes in as you mention phil. Every bill is gone and nothing is held over.
Wright: Someone may propose it again, but it is not necessary proposed yet.
Baruth: Yes, but to go to what your main point is the question: do I support gender-affirming medical care? The question is yes. I think in general Democratic majorities in the house and senate do support that and we absolutely oppose what I see as a demonization of various parts of our party including trans youth who are trying to figure out their identities and working with their doctors and their families to accomplish that.
Wright: And Phil, what we hear for concern sometimes about that though is, are families involved in that?
Baruth: Well, I mean if somebody has a medical right, you know that they are an adult and can pursue their own medical care with their doctor then they should be doing that. If they are a minor, they are going to need their family involved. So this discussion, we have had about abortion for years. The place where this gets sticky is where someone, family, is hostile to in one case the idea of an abortion of a child. The other case, affirming gender identity and that’s where this discussion generates.
Wright: I want to get back to the phone call, but I want to just go a tad further. Is there any point where a kid, a child, is too young [to make a] a decision, even with family, about changing their sexual identity?
Baruth: Well again, we’re talking about medical professionals working with the families. That’s not just MD’s, but in some cases therapists or psychiatrists trying to help to determine the best path for that child and that family. Um, so I tend to be the sort of person to side with medical experts on these issues.
H.659 was sponsored by Reps. Tanya Vyhovsky, Taylor Small, Elizabeth Burrows, Brian Cina, Selene Colburn, Mari Cordes, Katherine Donnally, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, Barbara Rachelson and Heather Surprenant, all Progressives or Progressive Democrats.