Under the Dome

NC pediatric specialists say HB2 ‘flawed’ and ‘harmful,’ call for repeal

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory makes remarks during an interview at the Governor's mansion in Raleigh on Tuesday.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory makes remarks during an interview at the Governor's mansion in Raleigh on Tuesday. AP

Twenty pediatric endocrinologists from across North Carolina have called on Gov. Pat McCrory to push for repeal of House Bill 2, saying the law is “inherently flawed and potentially harmful to a group of children that we care for.”

“As professional experts in the field of chromosomes and genital anatomy,” they write in a letter to the governor, they describe reasons why it is sometimes impossible to assign gender to a child at birth, and also why such a designation may need to change later in life.

HB2, formally known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, was enacted in a special legislative session March 23. Among its provisions, it mandates that people can use only restrooms and locker rooms at schools and public facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate.

The petitioners say that mandate raises problems.

“There are babies born in whom chromosomes suggesting one sex do not match the appearance of the genitalia,” they write. “This can be due to multiple biological causes such as chromosome abnormalities, abnormalities in anatomic development, environmental exposures during pregnancy, genetic mutations in the synthesis and actions of adrenal and gonadal hormones, and tumors that make sex hormones.

“For these children, gender assignment at birth is challenging and takes substantial time — sometimes requiring re-evaluation over months to years.”

The doctors add: “Severe hormonal imbalances at birth may also result in gender assignments at the time of the birth that may require reassignment later in life.”

The 20 doctors, from Duke University Medical Center, UNC-Chapel Hill, Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville, Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Health, and New Hanover Regional Medical Center, say they are expressing their professional opinion and not speaking for their institutions.

“Our patients already face major medical and social challenges,” the doctors write, “and HB2 creates unnecessary hardship for these vulnerable youth. We respectfully ask you to repeal this hurtful bill.”