Idaho Senate Republicans kill bill banning trans medical care
An Idaho bill that would have criminalized a parent’s decision to allow their transgender child to receive gender-affirming medical treatment has died at the hands of the state Senate’s Republican conference after a national outcry.
In a statement late Tuesday, Idaho Senate Republicans said they oppose gender reassignment surgery for minors but that the bill interferes with a parent’s right to make medical decisions for their own children.
“We believe in parents’ rights and that the best decisions regarding medical treatment options for children are made by parents, with the benefit of their physician’s advice and expertise,” the senators said in a statement.
The bill, H.B. 675, passed the state House on a nearly party-line vote last week. It would have added language barring anyone from providing transgender youth medication meant to block or delay the onset of puberty or gender-affirming surgery to a provision already on the books that banned female genital mutilation.
Under the bill, treating a transgender child — or even helping the child leave the state to seek treatment in another state — would have been made a felony punishable by up to life in prison.
The lone Republican to oppose the bill in the House was state Rep. Fred Wood (R), the only physician serving in the House.
In their statement Tuesday, Idaho state senators cited comments from the Idaho Medical Association, which said that gender-affirming surgeries on youth do not take place in Idaho. Other major medical groups like the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have opposed measures targeting medical treatment for transgender youth.
The senators said the bill as written could extend to children who need other medical care.
“The bill’s language in its current form could be interpreted to extend into the realm of medically necessary care for kids that is in no way related to transgender therapy, but serves children with highly specialized medical needs,” the senators wrote.
The Idaho proposal was one of dozens of measures related to transgender youth that have been introduced in Republican-led legislatures across the country this year. Two dozen bills have targeted medical treatment for transgender people specifically; legislators in Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky and New Hampshire are all considering multiple bills related to transgender medical care.
It is not certain whether those measures will stand up to legal scrutiny. The American Civil Liberties Union has been involved in litigation aimed at overturning an Arkansas bill and an order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), both of which targeted medical care for transgender youth.
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