South Dakota state lawmaker backtracks after comparing transgender 'procedures' to Nazi 'experiments'

South Dakota state lawmaker backtracks after comparing transgender 'procedures' to Nazi 'experiments'

South Dakota Rep. Fred Deutsch (R), the sponsor of a bill that would outlaw providing puberty blockers or hormones to trans minors, backtracked Tuesday after comparing providing such care to medical experiments performed on children in Nazi concentration camps.

“You know, I'm the son of a Holocaust survivor. I've had family members killed in Auschwitz, and I've seen the pictures of the bizarre medical experiments,” Deutsch said in an interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who has himself compared court decisions ruling a Colorado baker broke the law in not baking a cake for a gay couple to the Holocaust.

Deutsch told The Washington Post Tuesday that “hindsight is 20/20” and “I wish I wouldn’t have opened my mouth because it takes the focus off the purpose of the bill, which is to try to help children,” but denied he had made a comparison between doctors providing care to trans children and Nazis.


“The comparison pertained to resemblances in pictures I have seen in the two populations,” Deutsch told the newspaper. “I am NOT, NOT, Not calling doctors Nazis!”

The newspaper also asked why the bill’s prohibition on surgical and nonsurgical procedures for trans youth included an exemption for cosmetic genital surgeries for children born intersex. Deutsch said he did not “have time for a full response.”

Gillian Branstetter of the National Women’s Law Center blasted the exemption Wednesday, saying it was “heinous” that the measure was “solely crafted to prevent fictional nonconsensual surgeries on young trans children while exempting actual, quite real nonconsensual surgeries on young intersex children.”

Numerous other advocacy groups have also noted that the medical establishment does not in fact recommend any genital surgical procedures of the kind the bill would ban for trans youth.

“When it comes to prepubescent kids, there is no medical intervention of any kind and the lifesaving care is about social transition,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement on the bill. “No young kids are being forced into treatment (except kids with intersex traits which the bill specifically allows).”