If a group of lawmakers have it their way, it will soon be a crime for surgeons to perform sex reassignment procedures on children.
The bill, introduced Tuesday in the South Dakota state legislature, would make it a Class 4 felony for doctors to perform a series of surgeries on minors “for the purpose of attempting to change or affirm the minor’s perception of the minor’s sex, if that perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex.”
The outlawed procedures would include castrations, vasectomies, hysterectomies, vaginoplasties, mastectomies, as well as the administration of puberty-blocking drugs in order “to stop normal puberty.” The bill would also ban the removal of “any otherwise healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.”
It should be noted the law would not apply to minors in need of said surgeries and procedures, so long as they have “a medically-verifiable genetic disorder of sex development.”
State Rep. Fred Deutsch (R), the lead sponsor of the legislation, said he’s advancing the bill because “every child in South Dakota should be protected from dangerous drugs and procedures.”
“The solution for children’s identification with the opposite sex isn’t to poison their bodies with mega-doses of the wrong hormones, to chemically or surgically castrate and sterilize them, or to remove healthy breasts and reproductive organs,” he told National Review. “The solution is compassionate care, and that doesn’t include catastrophically and irreversibly altering their bodies.”
At press time, Deutsch’s bill had 47 cosponsors from both chambers of the South Dakota legislature. The proposal, however, is facing resistance from Democrats and the American Civil Liberties Union, which has vowed to fight the bill should it become law, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
“Every year, South Dakota lawmakers zero in on transgender youth and every year the transgender community is hurt while meaningful problems go unaddressed,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer.”
State House Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D) has called the bill “frustrating,” “not necessary,” and “disappointing,” further describing it as a “constant assault on trans people in the state of South Dakota year after year.”
Last fall, a psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore described transgender treatments for minors as “reckless and irresponsible,” likening the procedures to performing “frontal lobotomies.”
“[Doctors] don’t have evidence that [the treatment] will be the right one,” said Dr. Paul McHugh. “Many people are doing what amounts to an experiment on these young people without telling them it’s an experiment. You need evidence for that, and this is a very serious treatment. It is comparable to doing frontal lobotomies.”