Democratic amendments on gender-affirming care bill voted down in House Chamber


INDIANAPOLIS—Two days after public testimony raised concerns, Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis, attempted Thursday to introduce four amendments to controversial Senate Bill 480, which would ban minors from receiving gender-affirming care in Indiana. 

The bill faced its second reading in the House Chamber, where amendments were to be introduced and voted on. Despite requests from Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, in Tuesday’s Public Health Committee meeting to amend the bill, Shackleford was the only one to attempt any changes to SB 480. 

Shackleford’s first amendment aimed to “grandfather in” minors who receive gender-affirming care by July 1, when the bill would become law if passed. As it stands now, the bill states that minors would need to end their hormonal therapies six months after the bill is enacted, or on Dec. 31 of this year.

Her amendment intended to make it so that minors already receiving this care could continue, exempted from the law. Shackleford’s Amendment 1 failed 29-56.

Her second amendment would remove all hormonal treatments from the bill, outlawing only surgical procedures for minors in Indiana. 

“These therapies help our youth transition and deal with their transitioning before they’re going to that surgical procedure,” Shackleford said. “Keep in mind also, puberty-blocking medications are reversible.”

One of the House sponsors, Rep. Joanna King, R-Middlebury, said it was worth keeping in the bill due to safety concerns.

“It is really critical that we leave these medications and therapies as part of this bill, and here’s the reason why,” King said. “In July of 2022, the FDA issued a warning saying that puberty-blocking drugs should not be used for gender transition therapies.”

King recommended that her Republican colleagues vote down the amendment, and they listened. Amendment 2 failed by a vote of 28-58.

Shackleford’s third amendment simply added “safeguards” to the bill while leaving the decision to receive treatment up to parents and physicians. To receive gender-affirming care, the patient and the parent would both need to give oral and written consent to the physician. 

King also urged her colleagues to vote against this amendment. 

“In testimony, we heard so many people talk about the harm that this process has left on them—irreversible, unproven, life-changing harm,” King said. “This bill will protect children from that harm. The state has the duty to protect children from harm. It is good policy.”

Amendment 3 also failed by a 28-58 vote.

Shackleford’s final amendment aimed to give families an option if they are unhappy with the state’s control over their minor’s health care. If her amendment would have been successful, it would have allowed Hoosier parents to take legal action against the state if their minor reacted poorly to being taken off hormonal medications to transition.

“If we want to be able now to make these decisions on behalf of a parent on behalf of a child, we have to accept the consequences,” Shackleford said. “If a child is removed from this therapy and they commit suicide, we should be held accountable.”

King said the state should not be held responsible in those cases. 

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said the General Assembly’s silence on LGBTQ+ issues is deafening. 

“We are arrogating to ourselves medical decisions. We are taking those decisions away from doctors and parents,” DeLaney said. “OK, that appears to be what’s going to happen. But then we go a step further and say, ‘Oh, by the way, we as a state are not responsible. We as a state decided what will and will not happen. But if we’re wrong, no jury needs to look at this.’”

The fourth and final amendment failed with a vote of 27-60.

SB 480 will now face its third reading in the House. If passed, it will then move to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk for consideration.

After the session meeting, Shackleford released a statement regarding her disappointment over the defeat of her amendments.

“Transgender people, especially transgender children, are already one of our most vulnerable demographics,” Shackleford said. “While our goal in the legislature is to keep children safe, I firmly believe that parents, their child and medical professionals are best equipped to determine the best course of action.

“My amendments were an effort to make this bad bill a bit better for transgender children, their families and their doctors. I’m disappointed House Republicans chose playing politics over empowering families to make the best decisions for themselves.”


  1. .
    So, you think all the attention on cultural issues, the State getting involved in sexuality decisions and issues that BELONG IN THE FAMILY, is great?

    Are you SURE about that?

    Are you SURE these kinds of things will NEVER happen in your family?
    Never happen in your Son’s family?
    Or your daughter’s family?
    Or your Grandchildren? Their kids?

    …and they are handling that the best way they can, because they love their kids?

    Then suddenly? When YOUR DAUGHTER, or YOUR SON, or YOUR KIDS need to discuss this and make decisions w/ their Doctor, and the Government steps in and tells them what they can and cannot do?

    The State takes away your right to run your family the way YOU WANT?

    You sit down and thank the new Trash Morality Police GOP of today.

    Sit down and thank them for taking away your right to privacy, your right to make decisions in your family.

    Who are these people? No right to privacy, and that is ok with you??????

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