Mississippi has joined a growing list of states prohibiting gender reassignment surgeries for minors after Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill that bans surgeries and drugs for gender reassignment as well as state money and Medicaid from being used to cover the procedures.
House Bill 1125, also known as the “Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures (REAP) Act,” prohibits cross-sex hormones and puberty blocking drugs from being given to individuals under the age of 18, as well as sex change surgeries, including mastectomy, voice surgery, liposuction, lipofilling, pectoral implants, or other aesthetic procedures for female patients.
“At the end of the day, there are two positions here,” Reeves said in a statement. “One tells children that they’re beautiful the way they are. That they can find happiness in their own bodies. The other tells them that they should take drugs and cut themselves up with expensive surgeries in order to find freedom from depression. I know which side I’m on. No child in Mississippi will have these drugs or surgeries pushed upon them.”
Mississippi now joins Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah in passing legislation to prohibit the treatments, with a number of states still advancing new bills.
Bloomberg Law reported that legislation has already been introduced this year that would impose civil penalties for any parent or medical provider who administers gender-affirming procedures to minors.
“There is a dangerous movement spreading across America today,” Reeves said at the bill’s signing. “It’s advancing under the guise of a false ideology and pseudoscience being pushed onto our children through radical activists, social media, and online influencers. And it’s trying to convince our children that they are in the wrong body. I stand before you today to sign legislation that puts a stop to this in Mississippi and protects our kids.”
While the bill was hailed as a win for supporters, activists and advocacy organizations say the move was more about politics than safety.
“This law shuts the door on medical best practice and puts politics between parents, their children, and their doctors,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a twitter post. “This life-saving care was already difficult to access for trans youth across the state, and is now entirely out of reach.”