Idaho is about to become the 8th state to ban puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery for under 18s
Idaho is poised to become the latest state to effectively ban endocrine-disrupting drugs and surgeries for trans youth with a new law.
The majority Republican state House voted overwhelmingly to make it illegal for health care providers to administer puberty blockers, hormone treatments or gender-confirming surgeries to trans minors under the age of 18.
If it goes ahead as expected, Idaho would become the eighth state to place legal restrictions on pharmaceutical interventions for youth with gender dysphoria. Federally, there is no age limit at which trans-Americans can receive the drugs or surgery.
The victory for the Idaho conservatives comes just after South Dakota Republicans led by Gov. Kristi Noem passed the “Help Not Harm” bill, which also banned the practice.
The Idaho bill is one of several bills in the state legislature that focus on LGBTQ+ rights. South Dakota and Utah have both enacted complete bans on gender reassignment health care
Idaho Governor Brad Little, a Republican, is a staunch opponent of transgender rights and could be expected to sign HB 71 into law if it passes the Senate
Idaho Governor Brad Little is an outspoken opponent of healthcare that changes a person’s gender to better reflect their gender identity, and is expected to back the latest bill, known as House Bill 71.
He has introduced several bills that would curtail trans health care, including one in 2020 that banned transgender girls and women from participating in women’s sports and another that banned transgender people from changing the gender on their birth certificates.
In August 2020, a federal district judge struck down Gov Little’s ban on changing the gender on a person’s birth certificate.
House Bill 71 would impose stiff penalties on anyone under the age of 18 administering puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or gender confirmation surgery. Violators could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
During floor debates on Tuesday, Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, the sponsor of the bill, gender transition healthcare equals eugenics, the pharmaceutical opioid crisis, and “other things that were popular in medical circles … that we now know were downright evil.”
Rep Skaug said, ‘Why should we allow them, in this tender state of mind of under 18s, to make decisions about removing healthy body organs?
“And a lot of this is based on what the child’s feelings and thoughts are that persist over these procedures… That’s the wrong way to approach it scientifically.”
The future of the bill in the Senate remains unclear, but the composition of the chamber after the midterm elections indicates a strong chance of passage.
While the total number of Republican-controlled seats grew by only one, the ideological composition shifted further to the right, especially in the Senate.
The upheaval brought about by the 2022 election paves the way for similar proposals that take away the so-called ‘wokeness’ to cross the finish line.
Idaho is one of more than two dozen states to implement a ban on gender-affirming care this year.
Only one state removed is South Dakota, where the Republican-led state government on Monday ushered in a new law that prohibits doctors from prescribing puberty blockers or hormone treatments to minors.
Gov. Kristi Noem said the move “protects children from harmful, permanent medical procedures.”
Last month, Utah banned gender reassignment surgery for anyone under 18, saying minors could only begin hormone therapy if they had a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Similar bans in Alabama and Arkansas have been blocked by the courts.
Texas has banned the treatment for minors, and in Florida, the Board of Medicine and the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine approved a ban on such care for trans youth last fall.
Democratic Rep. Chris Mathias of Boise warned of the bill’s effects on the pre-existing problem: “This bill is going to throw gasoline on that problem.”
Another Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Ilana Rubel, said the bill would infringe on parental rights, the same argument that rejected a similar measure in the Senate last year. She noted that Idaho allows parents to refuse medical treatment for their children based on their religious beliefs.
Rep. Rubel said, “That’s allowed in the state of Idaho because of this deep, deep commitment to parental rights about caring for children no matter what — even if it causes the child’s death.”