Neal strikes gender-affirming care bill; will introduce new one

Betsy PriceGovernment, Headlines


A state representative plans to rewrite a bill that would protect medical professionals providing gender-affirming care.

A Delaware legislator who identifies as nonbinary on Tuesday asked to strike a proposed bill that would protect medical professionals who provide general-affirming medical care.


Rep. DeShanna Neal

Rep. DeShanna Neal, D-Elsmere/Newport, introduced House Bill 230 in June 2023 and asked on Tuesday for the bill to be dropped from consideration. Neal didn’t give a reason during the session.

Efforts were unsuccessful to immediately reach Neal for comment.

Neal already is working on a  new, more up-to-date bill that will be introduced in the next month, said Taylor Green, Neal’s legislative aide.

HB230 was already out of date, Green said.

The bill would have given medical professionals who provide gender-affirming health care the same protections that the state of Delaware already gives providers of contraceptive and abortion services.

Neal’s bill

Among other things it would have:

  • Made sure that medical professions providing that care could not be disciplined for those services even if such services are illegal or considered to be unprofessional conduct or the unauthorized practice of medicine in a state other than Delaware, as long as the services are lawful in Delaware.
  • Prohibited health care providers from disclosing communications and records concerning gender-affirming health care without the patient’s authorization, with some exceptions.
  • Protected health care providers from out-of-state civil actions for treatment that is legal in Delaware, including the issuance of a summons or the enforcement of subpoenas relating to such cases.
  • Prohibited insurance companies from taking any adverse action against health care professionals who provide gender-affirming health care services.
  • Given jurisdiction to Family Courts to determine custody disputes when a child is in the state to receive gender-affirming health care, and the provision of gender-affirming health-care is at issue in the custody dispute.
  • Prohibits the state from enforcing an out-of-state court order that removes a child from a parent because the parent allows the child to receive gender-affirming health care.

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The bill drew a lot of Republican opposition when it was introduced in the last weeks of the 2023 General Assembly session, but in a majority Democrat legislature, if often doesn’t matter what Republicans say or want.

The timing, though, is interesting.

Delaware’s legislative session runs over two years, and this one is 2023-2024.

Introducing the bill last year meant it was still alive this year.

If Neal introduces a bill in a month, it will have a little over two months to go through committees and be passed in both the Senate and the House.

If not, it dies on the vine and will have to be reintroduced in the next session, which starts in January 2025.


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