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NH House votes to ban gender reassignment surgery for minors, allow circumstantial discrimination based on biological sex

James Kelly


Opinions Editor


Two bills targeting transgender people in New Hampshire, HB 396 and HB 619-FN, passed in the NH House of Representatives on Thursday, January 4. The bills now head to the 14-10 Republican State Senate, where they are likely to pass. If the bills make it through the State Senate, it will be up to Governor Chris Sununu, who is a Republican, to either sign or veto the bills. 

HB 396 is an amendment to New Hampshire’s “Law Against Discrimination.” The bill would make it lawful to discriminate based on biological sex in bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, and sporting events. HB 396 passed 192-184, with three Democrats (Michael Abbott, Cheshire 6; Michael Cahill, Rockingham 10; Matthew Coker, Belknap 2) voting yes and two Republicans (Mike Bordes, Belknap 5; Dan Wolf, Merrimack 7) voting no. 

Plymouth’s House delegation (D-Bill Bolton, D-Sallie Fellows, D-Peter Lovett), who represent Grafton 8, all voted no on HB 396. In a statement to The Clock, Lovett said he came home from voting “quite depressed.” 

The second bill, HB 619, makes it a civil crime to perform a genital gender reassignment surgery on a person younger than 18. Under HB 619, a minor who undergoes a gender reassignment, their parent, or the attorney general, may sue the surgeon (or “any person who has aided and abetted” the surgeon) for damages.

The bill also classifies gender reassignment surgeries for minors as “unprofessional conduct,” and a surgeon who performs one would be “subject to discipline by the appropriate licensing entity”  This section potentially gives the state the power to revoke a doctor’s right to practice if they perform a gender reassignment surgery on a minor.

HB 619 underwent significant changes through a series of amendments. The original version of the bill sought to ban all kinds of gender transition procedures, including the prescription of hormones and puberty blockers. The original bill would have also forced schools to refer to students by their legal name and gender, and would ban teachers from teaching that there are more than two genders, or that gender is a choice.  

The House voted 209-167 to amend the bill to its current version, with 21 Democrats voting yes and three Republicans (Mike Belcher, Carroll 4; David Bickford, Strafford 3; Dan Wolf, Merrimack 7) voting no. The final vote on HB 619 was 199-175, with 12 Democrats voting yes and two Republicans (David Bickford, Strafford 3; Dan Wolf, Merrimack 7) voting no. Plymouth’s representatives all voted no. 

The State Senate has yet to schedule hearings for either bill. Plymouth’s State Senator, Democrat Suzanne Prentiss, can be reached at (603) 381-9195,, or at 33 State Street Concord, NH 03301, Legislative Office Building, Room 102-A.