A controversial amendment that proposes to deny healthcare benefits for transgender kids in Pennsylvania has people speaking out.
Some are fighting to save the state's Children's Health Insurance Program, not just for transgender youth, but for all families who need it.
House Bill 1388 saves CHIP before it expires in December. A recent senate amendment to the bill would prevent kids from receiving transgender related healthcare.
PA Youth Congress founding executive director Jason Landau Goodman said "the senate advancing CHIP re-authorization with the amendment banning trans youth from healthcare is cruel. This wicked version of an otherwise entirely non-controversial bill, serves no other purpose than pure discrimination."
The amendment states that benefits should not include reimbursement for gender reassignment surgery, but not limited to doctor services, in or outpatient hospital services, prescribe drugs or counseling related to such surgery or services.
Family Program of TransCentral Pa Nicole Miller said "passing the CHIP funding bill, HB 1388 with this amendment, denying care to transgender kids, will push more children to commit suicide. As a mom, that has suffered that great loss, i would never want that for anyone."
A cross section of Pennsylvanians gathered at the State Capitol to rally against the amendment to House Bill 1388. During their demonstration, they received a letter of hope from the governor.
Deputy secretary of Health Sarah Boateng said "the governor has communicated that he will veto House Bill 1388, Printer number 2599, should it reach his desk."
Many parents shared personal stories about the vulnerability of their own transgender children, and why they're showing their support.
Parent Deb Toothman said "because of our health care and coverage, we have been able able to avert things like depression, and alienation, that most transgender people face."
ACLU transgender advocacy coordinator Naiymah Sanchez has an answer for those who question why should taxpayer money be used to provide healthcare for the needs of transgender kids.
"We're currently already paying for healthcare for children, I mean, the chip program is already in existence, so why not. Trans children have rights to healthcare as well," Sanchez said.
FOX 43 News reached out to the senator who sponsored the amendment but his office said he was in session and unavailable.
House Bill 1388 would save the CHIP program which provides health insurance for uninsured children and teens. Unless it passes soon, the bill expires on December 31st.