BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Following suit with other Republican-controlled statehouses in the country, lawmakers in the Louisiana House passed a bill Tuesday that would ban gender-affirming medical care to minors, advancing the legislation to the Senate for further debate.

The bill would prohibit doctors from performing “gender transition procedures” — such as hormone treatments, gender reassignment surgery or puberty-blocking drugs — on anyone under the age of 18 who is seeking treatment to “alter” their sex assigned at birth. The measure, which also establishes penalties for health professionals who provide such care, passed 71-24 mainly along party lines.

Proponents of the bill say it will protect children from life-altering medical procedures until they are “mature enough” to make such serious decisions. Opponents argue gender-affirming care, which is supported by numerous major medical organizations, can be life-saving for someone with gender dysphoria — distress over gender identity that doesn’t match a person’s assigned sex.

Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community fear that without the care, transgender children could face heightened risks of spiraling into depression and anxiety. Research suggests transgender youth and adults are prone to stress, depression and suicidal thoughts, but there’s less evidence that treatment with hormones or surgery resolves those issues.

Additionally, Democrats argued the bill conflicts with the GOP’s push for parental rights bills. Currently, children in Louisiana need parental permission to receive any gender-affirming health care before they turn 18. Many opponents of the bill who spoke Monday said finding and gaining timely access to gender-affirming medical care is already a struggle.

Louisiana is the latest state to take up the debate over banning gender-affirming medical care to minors, in a year that LGBTQ+ advocates argue that conservative lawmakers are targeting transgender rights — from health care to athletics to bathroom access to pronoun usage.

At least 16 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors. Additionally, three states — Florida, Missouri and Texas — have banned or restricted the care with regulations or administrative orders. Missouri is the only one that also limits the treatments for adults, a restriction that has been blocked by a judge.

In some blue states, including Minnesota and Washington, laws protecting access to gender-affirming care have been enacted.