The Mississippi Senate has passed a bill to ban transgender surgeries and hormones for minors.
The Republican-controlled Senate passed House Bill 1125, or the “Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures Act,” by a vote of 33-15 on Tuesday. It had passed the House by a vote of 78-30, mostly split along party lines, on January 19.
The legislation will prohibit doctors from performing gender-change-related surgeries or providing drugs, including hormones, to people under 18. It will also allow doctor’s licenses to be removed and create a “civil claim of action” with a 30-year statute of limitations so that patients can later sue them.
Additionally, the bill prohibits insurers or Medicaid from reimbursing for such procedures and would strip doctors who provide them of the state’s generous tort claims protections, according to a report from Mississippi Today.
“To me it’s about taking a wait-and-see approach to make sure that these kids are what they think they are,” Rep. Nick Bain, a Republican who made the floor pitch for the bill, said. “The child still has the right, the ability to live as any gender they want, then when they turn 18 they can make that decision.”
Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall said that he had received questions “about how we’re telling people what they can and can’t do with their bodies,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
“I just want everyone to be very crystal clear: Once you’re 18 if this bill becomes law … this bill would recognize you can have any procedure on your body you want to,” Fillingane said. “So what we’re really talking about here are these procedures for persons 17 years of age and under.”
Governor Tate Reeves has indicated that he will sign the bill into law. In 2021, he signed a bill to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports.
After the bill passed the state’s House in January, the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi issued a statement saying the bill’s backers are “forcing policy onto vulnerable young people.”
“Denying healthcare to transgender youth can be life-threatening,” the ACLU said. “Research shows transgender youth are twice as likely than their cisgender peers to experience depression, isolation, and attempt suicide. Additionally, transgender youth whose families support their gender identity have a decrease in suicidal thoughts and significant increases in self-esteem.”
Transgender teenagers, their families, and those who support them, had been protesting the bill.