South Dakota: Bill to Protect Children from Hormone Treatment, Sex Change Surgery Advances

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Legislation in South Dakota to protect children from hormone treatment and ‘sex reassignment’ surgery cleared a committee vote on Wednesday.

Republican Rep. Fred Deutsch, who sponsored the bill, said hormone treatment and sex-reassignment surgery isn’t health care for children and should be considered “criminal acts” that are “deeply harmful.” 

Deutsch and others who support the bill believe children are too young to make decisions that could permanently alter them physically while those who are against it argue giving transgender treatment can “ease emotional distress for teens dealing with gender dysphoria.”

SF Gate reported on the South Dakota legislation:

The bill makes it a misdemeanor for doctors to provide puberty blockers or other treatments affecting gender expression to people under the age of 16, carrying a maximum one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The nearly four-hour hearing ended with an 8-5 vote of the House State Affairs Committee, with three Republicans breaking with their party to oppose the bill.

Lawmakers in several other states are hoping to follow suit with bills that punish doctors, and in some cases parents, who provide treatments for transgender or non-binary youths, with legislation pending in South Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma and Missouri. Some of the bills equate providing the medical treatments to child abuse, allowing parents to be reported to child welfare agencies and doctors’ licenses to be suspended or revoked.

State lawmakers in Kentucky, Georgia, and Texas also announced plans to file bills that limit medical options for transgender youths.

SF Gate calls South Dakota a “testing ground” for this kind of legislation because Republicans have a supermajority in the state, and the media outlet notes that it was one of the first states to pass a law to keep bathrooms limited to one’s biological sex even if it was vetoed by the governor in 2016.

Deutsch had connected with people on social media who claim they were hurt by transgender treatments and wants to prevent children from suffering, SF Gate noted.

The news outlet chided Deutsch for consulting with conservative groups such as the Liberty Council and for attending a “right-wing” Heritage Foundation event in Washington, DC, on the sexualization of children.

At the hearing, “Both sides brought in doctors and pediatricians, who provided contradictory testimony about whether the affects of the hormones are reversible or did damage to teens’ bodies.”

Glenn Ridder, a family physician from Sioux Falls, said that changing someones gender is “medically impossible.”

“Instead, they’re being chemically castrated and sterilized surgically, mutilated by surgeons, according to only ideology – no science – which in any other situation would be considered criminal,” Ridder said.

Kara Dansky is an attorney with Women’s Liberation Front, or WoLF, who testified in support the bill. She said transgender medical treatment is “a multibillion industry,” not a “civil rights movement.’” 

“The group has become increasingly vocal in opposition of transgender rights,” SF Gate reported.

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