Story at a glance
- An Idaho bill would amend the state’s criminal code to make it a felony to provide gender-affirming care, including hormones, puberty blockers or surgeries, to minors.
- The bill passed its final House committee on Friday and now goes to the full House floor for a vote.
- Other states have also targeted gender-affirming care in recent months.
A House bill in Idaho that would make gender-affirming care a felony punishable by up to life in prison has passed its final House committee and will now make its way to the full House floor for consideration.
The bill, which was advanced late last week by the Idaho House State Affairs Committee, would amend the state’s criminal code to make it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to minors. Providers caught prescribing hormones or puberty blockers or performing gender-affirming surgeries on children or teenagers younger than 19 years old could face life in prison, according to the bill.
“Whoever knowingly engages in any of the following practices upon a child that circumcise, excise, infibulate, or mutilate the reproductive organs and parts of a child, for the purpose of attempting to change or affirm the child’s perception of the child’s sex … shall be guilty of a felony,” reads a portion of the bill.
The legislation builds on an existing Idaho law that bans “female genital mutilation of a child,” though that law was created to halt harmful operations related to some customs or rituals.
State Rep. Bruce Skaug (R), who helped introduce the bill last month, said during the State Affairs Committee meeting Friday that children with gender dysphoria should consider seeking mental health services rather than irreversible medical treatments, the Los Angeles Blade reported.
“This bill protects the harm that will be caused to our children if we allow this to go on,” he said, later adding that: “if we do not allow minors to get a tattoo, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, sign a legal contract, why would we allow them to go through these physical mutilations because of their feelings at the time?”
Gender-affirming care for the nation’s transgender and nonbinary youth has been heavily challenged in recent months, and other states, like Alabama, are also seeking to make providing gender-affirming care a felony, though none carry a punishment as harsh as Idaho’s proposed legislation.
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