A bill banning certain medical procedures and hormones for transgender children, as well as prescribing puberty blockers has failed.
Republican Representative Fred Deutsch is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1057. Similar bills are appearing in other states across the country. He says he’s been working on this bill since last spring when he found stories on the internet of people regretting their transition as a minor. He amended the bill several times from its original form.
In front of a packed committee, Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield carried the bill in the Senate. He says the bill’s aim is to protect youth.
“We’re being asked to allow the doctors to practice and irreversible and permanent practice that will render children, those who undergo the surgery—it will render them sterile for the rest of their lives,” Greenfield says.
But Sanford Health officials say those kinds of procedures for minors are not within the standards of care. They say it’s an unnecessary bill. Senate Health and Human Services committee agreed. The bill failed on a vote of 5 to 2.
Quinncy Parke is a 17-year-old who identifies as non-binary. This bill sought to prevent treatment that helps people like Quinncy manage puberty. They testified against the bill. They say it’s hard to explain gender dysphoria -- the distress from a mismatch between gender identity and sex assigned at birth.
“You think ‘Am I alone? Am I fighting a battle I’m fated to lost?’ This demon grows like an infection. Eventually, it will corrupt everything you see and you will think everything you are is wrong,” Parke says. “When you learn that there are others like you and ways to fight this darkness, it gives you hope.”
Over the course of the bill’s lifespan, the penalty for performing several listed procedures reduced from a felony down to a civil penalty. It would have allowed those unhappy with their gender affirming surgery… and who received that care as a minor… to bring a lawsuit up until the age of 38.
Opponents call that move a radical change to the medical malpractice statute. Malpractice protections are already in state law.