GOP Senators End Effort to Criminalize Gender-Affirming Care in Idaho

Author: Trudy Ring

Idaho Senate Republican leaders have killed a bill that would criminalize doctors who provide gender-affirming care for minors, making it a felony punishable with up to life in prison.

The bill had easily passed the Republican-majority House, but Senate GOP leaders released a statement Tuesday saying while they continue to oppose “any and all gender reassignment and surgical manipulation of the natural sex of minors,” they decided to stop the measure from advancing because it amounts to government overreach and could affect care unrelated to gender transition.

“We believe in parents’ rights and that the best decisions regarding medical treatment options for children are made by parents, with the benefit of their physician’s advice and expertise,” reads the statement from the Idaho State Senate Majority Caucus. “It is against medical advice in Idaho and is counterindicated by the Idaho Medical Association (IMA). Among other provisions, HB 675 outlaws gender-affirming surgery for transgender minors; and the IMA has confirmed that this is “already outside the generally accepted standard of care and is not being done by physicians in Idaho.”

Physicians usually do not recommend gender-affirming surgery for minors, but trans youth often are prescribed hormone treatment and puberty blockers, which would also be outlawed by the legislation. It would additionally make it a felony to take a young person out of state to undergo a procedure banned by the measure.

The bill would have “unintended consequences” as well, the statement says. “The bill’s language in its current form could be interpreted to extend into the realm of medically necessary care for kids that is in no way related to transgender therapy, but serves children with highly specialized medical needs,” it notes. Lawmakers made some changes in the language, but caucus leaders found these insufficient. The caucus is led by Sens. Chuck Winder, Kelly Anthon, Abby Lee, and Mark Harris.

Meanwhile, legislators in Alabama are still considering a bill making it a felony to provide gender-affirming care, with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. It has passed the state Senate and will soon come to a vote in the House. Arkansas last year enacted a ban on gender-affirming care, with lawmakers overriding Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto, but it is blocked from going into effect while a lawsuit against it proceeds. It does not provide for prison sentences for health care workers but instead makes them subject to discipline by licensing boards and says violation is grounds for lawsuits.

The Human Rights Campaign praised the Idaho caucus’s move. “Idaho’s Senate Majority Caucus stated that ‘the best decisions regarding medical treatment options for children are made by parents, with the benefit of their physician’s advice and expertise.’ On this point, we agree,” said a statement from Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s state legislative director and senior counsel. “We are pleased that President Pro Tempore Winder and Majority Leader Anthon have decided not to pursue this vicious, unnecessary legislation a single step further.

“This legislation is a mean-spirited attack on transgender children, contrary to what medical experts advise, and an unprecedented government intrusion in the lives of Idahoans. The decision not to advance it is a welcome source of relief for parents across Idaho. It should also serve as a wake-up call to other states considering such legislation that this is not, and should not, be the government’s role to decide what best-practice healthcare should be available to youth.

“We will continue fighting these attacks wherever and whenever they occur. There is much more work that remains to be done to ensure that every single American, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has an equal opportunity to realize their full potential.”

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring


My name is David but my online nick almost everywhere is Altabear. I'm a web developer, graphic artist and outspoken human rights (and by extension, mens rights) advocate. Married to my gorgeous husband for 12 years, together for 25 and living with our partner of 4 years, in beautiful Edmonton, Canada.

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