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Tipsheet

Idaho Lawmakers Push Legislation Eliminating Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Minors

AP Photo/Robin Rayne

Idaho is one step closer to passing a law that would outlaw gender-affirming operations and treatment for transgender minors. House Bill 675, which was passed by a state House committee this week, says that anyone caught prescribing hormone or puberty blockers or performing gender reassignment surgery on minors could face life in prison.

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Republican State Rep. Bruce Skaug, who sponsored the bill, told the House State Affairs Committee that children experiencing gender dysphoria should undergo mental health treatment rather than gender affirming treatment. In addition, he said that children are too young to be making decisions of this magnitude that could alter the course of their lives, NPR-affiliated Boise State Public Radio reported.

“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,” he said. “It’s a bill to get proper treatment and to prevent them from lifelong, permanent decisions that will make them sterile and mutilate their bodies.”

The bill would be an amendment to already existing legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation. Republican state House member, Rep. Marco Erickson, told local outlet KTVB 7 that the bill would protect families from making a decision that they could regret later on, as kids are not “cognitively ready” to make irreversible decisions about their bodies and that “parents don’t always make the perfect decision on behalf of their kids.” 

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The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement slamming the bill, saying “every kid in Idaho deserves the chance to grow up feeling safe and respected for who they are” and that denying children “medically-necessary health care simply because you don’t approve of who they are is textbook discrimination.” In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden said that he will “always have [the] the back” of “younger transgender Americans.”

In an interview with KTVB, Skaug said that “this bill is about protecting children” and that “we need to stop sterilizing and mutilating children under the age of 18.”

“This bill is not about the adults or adult trans community at all,” he added. “It is about children."

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