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Gov. Cooper Vetoes Parents’ Bill of Rights, Fairness in Women’s Sports, and Gender Transition Bills

Outside of North Carolina Legislature Building where General Assembly meets

Earlier today, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the Parents’ Bill of Rights, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, and a bill that would prohibit gender transition procedures on minors. While these vetoes were anticipated, it is still discouraging to see our governor stand against these protections for parents, children, and families in North Carolina. All three bills will now return to the General Assembly for veto override votes.

More About the Bills & the Gov’s Veto Messages

Parents’ Bill of Rights

Senate Bill 29 will clarify and codify parental rights as they relate to their child’s healthcare and education. It is designed to foster transparency and a better relationship between parents and their child’s school and health care providers, encouraging these parties to work together so the child can thrive.

Governor Cooper’s Veto Statement on SB 49

“Parents are the most essential educators for their children and their involvement must be encouraged, but this bill will scare teachers into silence by injecting fear and uncertainty into classrooms. This “Don’t Say Gay” bill also hampers the important and sometimes lifesaving role of educators as trusted advisers when students have nowhere else to turn. The rights of parents are well established in state law, so instead of burdening schools with their political culture wars, legislators should help them with better teacher pay and more investments in students.”

Contrary to the Governor’s statement, this bill does not incite fear or place undue pressure on schools. Instead, it encourages parental involvement in schools, keeps K-4 curriculum free of sex ed and gender ideology, and informs parents if their child requests to be referred to by a different name or pronouns at school. The goal of SB 29 is to involve parents and remove politics. You can learn more about what this bill contains here.

Fairness in Women’s Sports Act

This bill is straightforward: middle school, high school, and collegiate sports teams are to be designated as male, female, or co-ed on the basis of biological sex.

Governor Cooper’s Veto Statement on HB 574

“We don’t need politicians inflaming their political culture wars by making broad, uninformed decisions about an extremely small number of vulnerable children that are already handled by a robust system that relies on parents, schools and sports organizations. Republican governors in other states have vetoed similar bills because they hurt their states’ reputation and economy and because they are neither fair nor needed.”

To start with, the entire point of separating male and female sports teams is because boys and girls, and women and men, are biologically different. Furthermore, as Payton McNabb and Riley Gaines can attest to, this bill is needed to protect the fairness and safety of women’s athletics. Riley was forced to share a locker room with a biological male swimmer, and Payton suffered lasting injuries when a transgender-identifying biological male player on the opposing volleyball team spiked a ball that hit her head.

Gender Transitions/Minors

This bill has three main components. It would prevent minors from receiving gender transition procedures including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender-transition surgeries. Second, it would provide broad conscience protections for healthcare practitioners who did not wish to participate in these experimental procedures. Finally, it would prevent state taxpayer dollars from paying for any transgender procedures.

Governor Cooper’s Veto Statement on HB 808

“A doctor’s office is no place for politicians, and North Carolina should continue to let parents and medical professionals make decision about the best way to offer gender care for their children. Ordering doctors to stop following approved medical protocols sets a troubling precedent and is dangerous for vulnerable youth and their mental health. The government should not make itself both the parent and the doctor.”

NC Family supports parental rights (see SB 49 above), however parental rights end when harm to a child takes place, and allowing these experimental and often irreversible procedures on minors represents harm. On the one hand, Governor Cooper is saying that parents should have the right to authorize these harmful “gender care” treatments on minors, but at the same time, with respect to SB 49, he says parents should not be informed of their child requests to be called by different names or pronouns in school.  The Governor also fails to acknowledge that the vast majority of those (between 80% -95%) who struggle with identity issues and gender dysphoria as youth revert to identifying as their biological sex by the time they are in early adulthood. Tragically, some gender transition procedures and surgeries cause sterility and remove perfectly healthy body parts. To quote one doctor, “We have no sense of . . . the risk associated with putting children through these procedures, and we have no idea of how many children really decide this is a terrible idea after they’ve gone through it.”

This is Not a Repeat of House Bill 2

In response to these bills, Gov. Cooper claimed that GOP leaders in the General Assembly were, “using government to invade the rights and responsibilities of parents and doctors, hurting vulnerable children and damaging our state’s reputation and economy like they did with the harmful bathroom bill.” We have already established that the bills do, in fact, protect children, doctors, and parents.

The Governor’s claim that these bills will damage our state’s reputation and economy like House Bill 2 did is also unfounded. House Bill 2 did cause an uproar, because it became the subject of a negative national media narrative, however, North Carolina’s reputation and economy continued to thrive, before, during, and after the height of HB 2, which was enacted into law in 2016. In fact, during 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, North Carolina was rated #1 or #2 by Forbes Magazine as the best state for business; #2 by Site Selection Magazinefor business climate; and #3 or #4 by Chief Executive Magazine as a best state for business. North Carolina also maintained its AAA bond rating throughout this time, and had record levels of spending on tourism year after year.

These bills are beneficial for everyone involved, and we are hopeful that the General Assembly will promptly override Governor Cooper’s vetoes.


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