RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gaining steam House Bill 808 passed the Senate Tuesday evening on its third reading and now heads back to the House.
The controversial legislation bans gender-affirming cases for transgender youth.
In a last-minute push, Democrats tried to make changes to the bill but their amendments fell short.
"I'm afraid that you believe that prayer in church or mistreatment and threats or starvation and sleep deprivation can cure them of their queerness," said Democrat Senator Natasha Marcus, who represents Mecklenburg.
"No matter how much it hurts, by supporting House Bill 808, you are cutting off their only path to getting gender-affirming care in North Carolina," Marcus continued.
But on the other side of the aisle was a different story of impact Republican Senator Joyce Krawiec from Forsyth.
"We heard from a young woman from my hometown who shared her story of her transition. Her parents were asked, would you rather have a dead daughter or a son? Her parents relented and she underwent transition when she was 18. Her healthy breasts were removed. At 25, she had already completed menopause," shared Krawiec.
On the Senate floor Tuesday night Krawiec said House Bill 808 protects children.
"The state has an interest in protecting our children from long-term harm and that's what this bill is all about. We have laws to protect children."
Earlier in the day Tuesday, people rallied outside of the General Assembly ahead of the Senate vote on a controversial bill and argued there's an assault taking place right now in our state against transgender youth.
Margaret Bilodaeu and her family moved to North Carolina thinking they would have better access to medical care. She says when her son Rowan, now 15 years old, transitioned it was not done in haste.
"It's not an overnight decision," said Margaret Bilodaeu. "I think that parents should still have the right to consent to lifesaving medical care for their children whether or not my next door neighbor thinks that. That's my right as a parent."
Rowan Bilodeau said, "It's certainly frustrating because it feels like they love to say 'Oh we care about kids, and we want to protect kids,' but this isn't protecting kids. It's actually doing worse for kids and I don't think that they see that."
House Bill 808 would ban transgender surgical procedures for children.
The legislation also says that if doctors violate the law and perform gender transitioning procedures their medical license will be revoked.
Conservative group NC Values Coalition says there's a goal.
"To save children in our state from a lifetime of misery and from actual genital mutilation, which is being caused by the current procedure of transitioning people from one sex to another," said NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald.
A National Library of Medicine report published last year found there are more than 150,000 transgender youth in the United States and the median age of referral was 16-years-old.
The report additionally notes that between 2013 through 2020, the number of gender-affirming mastectomies increased 13 times.
"We believe that allowing them to at least grow to the age of maturity before they consider a serious, life-altering, permanent decision like this is very wise," said Fitzgerald.
The organization Campaign for Southern Equality, which works across the South to promote LGBTQ+ quality, says officials are prepared to help families find out-of-state care and provide them hundreds of dollars to cover travel or procedure costs if the bill passes.