Republicans Introduce Bill To Make It Illegal For Doctors To Treat Transgender Children In South Dakota

A new bill introduced this week in South Dakota would make it illegal for doctors to provide health care to transgender minors, reports The Associated Press.

House Bill 1057, introduced by Republican state Representative Fred Deutsch on Tuesday, would make it a Class 4 felony for a medical professional to perform a gender-affirming operation or surgery, as well as prescribing hormone replacement therapy to aid a child’s gender transition or in an attempt “to change or affirm the minor’s perception of the minor’s sex, if that perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex,” according to the text.

HB 1057 has reportedly been fast-tracked to go up for a vote in South Dakota’s House of Representatives on Friday.

Deutsch reportedly referred to the pending legislation as a “pause button” for minors experiencing “gender dysphoria,” a condition where a person feels distressed when their gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth.

Deutsch introduced the bill, called “The Vulnerable Child Protection Act”, in the House on the first day of the legislative session with more than 40 co-sponsors.

The bill, according to Deutsch, seeks to protect children from “dangerous drugs and procedures.”

He continued to say that “The solution for children’s identification with the opposite sex isn’t to poison their bodies with mega-doses of the wrong hormones, to chemically or surgically castrate and sterilize them, or to remove healthy breasts and reproductive organs. The solution is compassionate care, and that doesn’t include catastrophically and irreversibly altering their bodies.”

The ACLU issued a statement yesterday in response to the proposed legislation, dispelling it as part of a “streak of bills that would codify discrimination against transgender youth that the South Dakota Legislature has attempted to pass over the last five years.”

“Like all health care, health care for transgender youth is individualized and based on the needs of each particular person,” the ACLU notes. “This bill would take away private health care choices around the provision of medical care consistent with prevailing medical and scientific standards. Such choices should be made between a doctor and a patient, not politicians.”

“Transgender kids, like all kids, deserve a chance to experience joy, to learn in a safe environment, to get the health care that they need, and to survive into adulthood,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “When the government proposes laws that would stigmatize them and undermine their care, they lose those opportunities.”

“By blocking medical care supported by every major medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, the legislature is compromising the health of trans youth in dangerous and potentially life-threatening ways. Research shows that transgender youth whose families affirm their gender identity have a 52 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 48 percent decrease in suicide attempts and significant increases in self-esteem and general health. No other state has passed a law like HB 1057. It is unconstitutional to single out one group of people and categorically ban all care, no matter how medically necessary.”

“Every year, South Dakota lawmakers zero in on transgender youth and every year the transgender community is hurt while meaningful problems go unaddressed,” Skarin says. “The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer. It’s time we stop these attacks and focus on issues that matter to the people of South Dakota. Discrimination against a marginalized group is a distraction from the state’s real needs and hurts us all.”