South Dakota’s House of Representatives passed a landmark bill Wednesday, criminalizing transgender treatments on children under 16, putting it on track to become the first state in the nation to outlaw sex-change for children.
The bill, H.B. 1057, passed the Republican-controlled House 46-23 and now moves to the Senate, which also is controlled by Republicans. The state’s governor, Kristi Noem, is Republican, although she has expressed concern about the bill.
The bill bans castration, vasectomies and mastectomies on children under 16 and also prohibits puberty-blocking drugs and “supraphysiologic” doses of testosterone and estrogen. Supraphysiologic is a medical term meaning greater than normally present in the body.
Medical professionals who violate it would be subject to a misdemeanor and could face one year in jail.
“This bill is about protecting children,” said Rep. Fred Deutsch, a bill supporter.
The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened legal action if it is signed into law, according to the Argus Leader.
“By blocking medical care supported by every major medical association, the legislature is compromising the health of trans youth in dangerous and potentially life-threatening ways,” the ACLU of South Dakota said in a statement.
Noem has not announced support for or opposition to the bill but told reporters this month: “When you take public policy and try to fill parenting gaps with more government, you have to be very careful about the precedent you’re setting,”
Terry Schilling, executive director at the American Principles Project, applauded the House for passing the bill.
“The brave legislators who voted in favor of this critical bill today deserve a lot of credit,” Schilling said Wednesday. “... The South Dakota House of Representatives put families first and rejected this dangerous gender ideology which is destroying the lives of so many vulnerable young people. We thank the GOP leadership in the House for their principled stand for families and children, and we encourage the Senate and Gov. Kristi Noem to do the right thing by passing this landmark legislation and signing it into law.”
Photo courtesy: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.