January 22, 2020 | From Argus Leader
Rep. Fred Deutsch and 44 other lawmakers are proposing to make it a felony for medical professionals to treat transgender children with hormones and sex reassignment surgery in South Dakota.
Deutsch, R-Florence, filed House Bill 1057, which he’s calling the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, on Tuesday that would make it a Class 4 felony for a medical professional to conduct several practices on children, including emancipated children, in an attempt to change or affirm the child’s “perception” of their sex “if that perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex.”
The House State Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday in room 414 at the state Capitol in Pierre. The livestream of the hearing can be found at sdlegislature.gov.
Deutsch said children in South Dakota are being hurt and he’s introducing the legislation to protect them.
“To parents, I say, love your kids. Just love them, support them. That’s what I’m trying to do with this bill: love South Dakota children. I’m being the grown up in the room,” Deutsch said.
Both Democratic legislators and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota said on Wednesday that they plan to fight the bill. The ACLU of South Dakota said in a statement that it’s unconstitutional to single out one group of people and categorically ban all care, no matter how medically necessary.
“Every year, South Dakota lawmakers zero in on transgender youth and every year the transgender community is hurt while meaningful problems go unaddressed. The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer,” said Libby Skarin, policy director of the ACLU of South Dakota.
The bill would prohibit any physician, surgeon, physician assistant, nurse, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, anesthetist or medical assistant from conducting the following on children:
- Surgeries including castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy and vaginoplasty;
- Prescribing, dispensing or administering medications that block normal puberty, give testosterone to females, give estrogen to males;
- Remove a healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.
The bill would exempt good faith decisions by parents or guardians of a child born with a “medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development,” according to the legislation.
Deutsch argues that no studies have shown that the drugs and procedures are safe and that parents are given inaccurate, incomplete and false information about the procedures.
“They are warned that if they do not consent to medical treatment, their child will be at higher risk of suicide. But there’s no evidence to support this claim,” Deutsch said. “Kids who are contemplating suicide require evaluation and treatment for conditions such as depression and anxiety. Castration, hysterectomies, puberty blockers and high dose hormones are not treatments for psychological conditions.”
The Endocrine Society’s clinical guidelines don’t recommend hormone treatment for pre-pubescent children and calls for children to be treated during puberty and older adolescence by an expert multi-disciplinary team that includes both medical professionals and mental health professionals.
Deutsch announced on Twitter in May that he planned to introduce legislation in the 2020 session to make it a felony for doctors to follow the guidelines of the professional medical association, the Endocrine Society.
The bill is “homegrown,” and Deutsch said he began working on it nine months ago after he met transgender people via Twitter and Reddit. He said he was so moved by their experiences of being hurt by the transition process that he wanted to see if it was happening in South Dakota. He said he found that doctors are doing those treatments on children as young as 13 years old, and he plans to show documents in the bill’s hearing proving that.
“It breaks my heart. These are our kids in South Dakota,” he said. “These are good children that need to have a pause button and this bill is a pause button until they’re 18.”
His bill doesn’t impact transgender children who want to socially transition or seek counseling, he said. He said he’s found a dozen studies completed in the last 40 years that found that 85% of children will accept their biological gender if they go through puberty, which is a “natural resolution” to the challenges transgender children face.
Deutsch said he worked on the legislation with Kelsey Coalition, which states its goal is to promote “policies and laws to protect young people who identify as transgender.”. . .
(Excerpt from Argus Leader. Article by Lisa Kaczke.)