While most eyes have been on the presidential transition and inauguration, many state legislatures are already in session. Legislators in at least eight states have proposed new bills that would protect gender-confused children and teens from permanently altering and irrevocably damaging their bodies with puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones and surgeries.
Legislators need support from constituents to pass these bills, with LGBT activists and their allies in the media and the business world clamorously opposing these measures to shield children. Here’s a roundup of the new measures, with information on how to weigh in on this important issue and protect children’s lives.
Just this week, on January 18th, the Montana House Judiciary Committee heard testimony about HB 113, which would prohibit health care providers from performing so-called “gender reassignment surgery” or prescribing puberty suppressing drugs or cross-sex hormones.
Activist groups like the ACLU Montana, together with businesses, opposed the measure, arguing that the bill “would also cause lasting harm to Montana’s economy by undermining the ability of businesses to recruit and retain diverse staff.” The media jumped in, too, with an article in The Montana Post about the “bigotry” of legislation to safeguard children, claiming the bill “will hurt Montana’s kids and economy.”
The Montana Family Foundation is actively supporting HB 113 – concerned Montanans can contact the organization for more information.
The Alabama Legislature doesn’t begin meeting until February 2, but legislators have pre-filed House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 10, the “Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act.” The measure applies to minors under the under 19 years of age, but the law does not apply to individuals with a “medically verifiable disorder of sex development.”
The bills also protect parental rights, prohibiting a “nurse, counselor, teacher, principal, or other administrative official at a public or private school” from withholding information from parents or guardians about a minor’s struggle with gender confusion. School employees would also not be able to encourage the child to not tell his parents.
Concerned Alabamians who want to weigh in on this bill can contact the Focus on the Family-affiliated Alabama Policy Institute.
Indiana’s “Vulnerable Child Protection Bill,” Senate Bill 224, “would prevent doctors from using puberty-blocking and hormone-altering drugs to damage a child’s natural biologic structures,” writes the Indiana Family Institute (IFI), another Focus-affiliated state policy organization.
IFI points to a letter from SB 224’s sponsor, state Sen. Dennis Kruse, listing some of the risks of puberty blockers and hormones that attempt to change a person’s biological sex. These include premature death from heart attacks and pulmonary embolisms; bone damage; possible liver damage; increased mental-health complications, psychosis and suicide rates; and stunted brain development.
In addition, the bill provides that state employees may not encourage minors, under the age of 21, to withhold information about their struggles from their parents, and they must notify parents in writing if the minor has symptoms of gender dysphoria or gender nonconformity.
Indiana Family Institute has a call to action page, where individuals can contact their state senator and urge them to “protect children from medical experimentation.”
Missouri’s HB 33 would likewise bar physicians and surgeons from administering puberty blockers, providing opposite-sex hormones or performing “gender reassignment” surgeries on children and teens under the age of 18. Health professionals who do so could lose their license to practice in the state.
The bill has a provision where a parent, guardian, “shall be reported to the children’s division” of Missouri’s child protection system for child abuse if they obtain prohibited medical or surgical treatment for their child.
Citizens who want to contact their Missouri legislators about this measure can find that information here.
In Mississippi, state Senator Angela Burks Hill has introduced Senate Bill 2171, which prohibits puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries on minors below age 21. It also prohibits state employees from keeping information from parents about their child’s gender confusion.
SB 2171 explains that its intent is to protect minors who “are incapable of comprehending the negative implications and life-altering difficulties attending to these interventions” and “are unable to fully appreciate the risks and life implications, including permanent sterility that result from the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical procedures.”
Information about contacting Mississippi legislators can be found here.
Utah is the final state considering legislation to “prohibit a physician or surgeon from performing a transgender procedure on a minor.” HB 92 “makes it unprofessional conduct to perform a medically unnecessary puberty inhibition procedure or a sex characteristic-altering procedure on a minor.”
Health professionals would be forbidden from medically “attempted sex change” of minors. This is defined as “an attempt or effort to change an individual’s body to present that individual as being of a sex or gender that is different from the individual’s biological sex at birth.”
Information about contacting Utah legislators is available here.
Bills in New Hampshire and Texas take a somewhat different tack from other states. Their measures would add to the list of child abuse offenses any medical interventions to block puberty or make a child look like the opposite sex with hormones and surgery.
The New Hampshire legislation, HB 68, is only eight lines long. Its current text says that an abused child is also one who has been “Subjected to drug treatments or surgery in an attempt to alter the sex of the child assigned at birth, except in rare cases of ambiguous genitalia. For purposes of this subparagraph, ambiguous genitalia refers to a medical condition in which a child’s gender at birth is in question because the genitals do not appear clearly male or female.”
Contact Cornerstone Action, a Focus-affiliated organization in New Hampshire, about how to weigh in on this, and other pro-life, pro-freedom, pro-family legislation.
The Texas bill, HB 68, is titled “An act relating to the definition of abuse of a child.” Health professionals who perform a surgery that sterilizes a child, remove healthy or non-diseased body parts from a minor, or prescribe or administer puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to a child, would be subject to criminal penalties. HB 68 does not apply to children with a “medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development.”
Individuals who abuse children in these ways would be added to the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services central registry, and those who are legally required to report child abuse, such as teachers and counselors, would have to report such incidents.
Texans who wish to advocate for this law to protect children, and other pro-life and pro-family legislation, should contact Texas Values, a Family Policy Council affiliated with Focus on the Family.
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