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Illinois gubernatorial candidates asked about gender affirming care for minors

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and GOP nominee Darren Bailey were asked about gender-affirming care for Illinois youth as the November election nears.

WGN hosted the two major party candidates for governor for their second and final debate Tuesday. The pair discussed schools, crime and health care in Illinois. 

Both were asked about implementing an age limit for children seeking gender reassignment surgery or other medical treatments for gender affirming care. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has come under fire on social media for offering services to children of any age. 

Pritzker said he will continue to support the LGBTQ community and thinks anyone with questions should be able to get answers. 

“I stand up for the rights of our LGBTQ community to make decisions for themselves,” Pritzker said. “It is true that people who feel themselves transgender from early on ought to go talk to a doctor and work with their parents to figure out what the right thing is for them.” 

Bailey criticized the governor for approving the end of parental notification of abortion.  

“Just look at the Parental Notification Act, Governor Pritzker allows children to make their own decisions without their parents involved, and it is wrong,” Bailey said. “I believe parents have the best interest in mind for their children and that parents should be making that decision, not teachers or doctors or governors.” 

The Illinois Freedom Caucus, which consists of state lawmakers who support Bailey, said it will introduce legislation “to ban chemical castrations and gender surgeries for minors in Illinois.” Until that is approved, the group called on the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago “to cease providing these services to minors.”

Pritzker defended the hospital and its doctors during the debate. 

“I think doctors, the parents, and these kids are working together to determine what is best for them,” Pritzker said. “I think our hospitals, especially Lurie’s, one of the great children’s hospitals in the nation, are very responsible about these things.” 

The election is Nov. 8. Early voting has already begun. 

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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