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Idaho House Considers Bill Outlawing Transgender Treatments for Minors

The bill has been denounced as 'government overreach' by the ACLU

The Idaho House of Representatives will consider a bill that would prohibit a list of surgical and hormonal treatments frequently prescribed for minors who identify as transgender. 

House Bill 675 amends a preexisting law banning female genital mutilation to forbid the genital mutilation of any child, regardless of gender. Moreover, the bill outlines specific medical procedures that cannot be performed on a child who is considered to be — or considers themselves — transgender.

According to the bill, it would be a felony to “circumcise, excise, infibulate, or mutilate the reproductive organs and parts of a child” in order to change or affirm the child’s perception of the child’s sex if that perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex.”

H.B. 675 would also prohibit parents from taking children out of state to seek gender-affirming hormone or surgical treatment. 

The bill was introduced on Feb. 23 and referred to the State Affairs Committee. It was passed by the committee following a 55-13 vote on March 7. 

The committee recommended passing the bill, which was introduced by State Representative Bruce Skaug.

“This is not a bill to take away treatment for these children that have gender dysphoria, it’s a bill to get proper treatment and to prevent them from lifelong, permanent decisions that will make them sterile and mutilate their bodies,” Skaug said while testifying before the committee.

According to the proposed policy, “puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgeries when administered to children struggling with gender dysphoria” are comparable to the state’s ban on female genital mutilation because “these medical interventions are almost always irreversible; some render the patient sterile, while others unnecessarily mutilate healthy body organs.”

The legislation includes a list of specifically prohibited medical procedures, including “puberty-blocking medication to stop or delay normal puberty,” mastectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, metoidioplasty, orchiectomy, penectomy, phalloplasty, clitoroplasty, vaginoplasty, vulvoplasty, or “the implantation of erection or testicular prostheses.”

Providing any of the listed procedures to a minor would be a felony violation of the law.

The bill is opposed by the ACLU Idaho which said access to gender-affirming care medical and mental health care results in “significantly more positive health outcomes” for transgender children.

“Unfortunately, proponents of this bill did not appear to be swayed by the heartfelt testimony of Idaho residents and information presented by Idaho medical professionals who work closely on this issue, and instead repeated fear-based narratives and debunked medical information,” the organization said in a statement.

“HB 675 amounts to severe government overreach into the medical decision-making rights of Idaho parents,” said Lauren Bramwell, an ACLU of Idaho policy strategist.

The ACLU compared the bill to a policy in Arkansas that prohibits physicians from performing gender modification surgeries or providing other medical treatment regarded as gender-affirming to minors. 

The Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act was ultimately passed after the state legislature overrode a veto from the governor in April of 2021. 

The policy was ultimately challenged in court by transgender advocates.

Public debate regarding H.B. 675 drew attention to a preexisting clause that prohibits the removal or the facilitation of the removal of a child from the state for any of the prohibited treatment.

The bill — now known as the “Genital Mutilation of a Child,” thereby dropping the word “female” from its original title — made anyone who “knowingly removes or causes, permits, or facilitates the removal of a child from the state for the purpose of facilitating the removal of a child from this state for the purpose of facilitating any act prohibited by [the bill]” guilty of a felony.

The bill does permit exceptions for “a person acting in accordance with the good faith medical decision of a parent or guardian of a child born with a medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development.”

This includes intersex children, children with both ovarian and testicular tissues, or those born with abnormal XX or XY chromosomes.

Editor’s note: the headline of this article was changed to more neutral language.

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