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Monday, January 30, 2023
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Different Bills Regarding Genital Mutilation by State Legislatures Expose Fault Lines in American Culture

'It’s irresponsible for anybody in health care to provide or recommend life-altering surgeries that may later be regretted...'

(Headline USA) After the 2022 election and record flow of laws protecting children from genital mutilation last year, Republican state lawmakers this year are continuing to protect children with new proposals limiting gender transitions.

More than two dozen bills seeking to restrict gender transitions have been introduced across 11 states — Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia — for the legislative sessions beginning in early 2023.

Of the 35 bills already introduced in Texas, three would classify providing gender-transitions and related procedures to minors as a form of child abuse, following a directive last year from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that ordered child welfare agents to open abuse investigations into parents who let their children transition.

In Tennessee, the GOP-controlled legislature announced after Election Day that its first priority would be to ban medical providers from altering a child’s hormones or performing surgeries that enable them to present as a sex they are not.

Legislation pre-filed this week in Republican-controlled Oklahoma, which passed restrictions last year on trans participation in sports and school bathroom usage, seeks to ban gender-affirming care for patients under age 26 and block it from being covered under the state’s Medicaid program.

Another Oklahoma proposal would prohibit distribution of public funds to organizations that provide gender-bending procedures to patients younger than 21.

“It’s irresponsible for anybody in health care to provide or recommend life-altering surgeries that may later be regretted,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Jim Olsen. “Performing irreversible procedures on young people can do irreparable harm to them mentally and physically later in life.”

A similar bill pre-filed in South Carolina, where Republicans control both chambers, also requires that adults older than 21 obtain referrals from their doctor and a licensed psychiatrist before they can begin mutilating themselves. 

A new California law, effective as of Jan. 1, shields families of transgender youth from criminal prosecution if they travel to California for gender-bending health procedures, such as surgeries or hormone therapy, from states that ban such treatments for minors. Making California a refuge for trans youth and their parents, the law blocks out-of-state subpoenas and prohibits medical providers from sharing information on genital mutilation with out-of-state entities.

Another California bill, filed in December, would expand those protections by prohibiting a magistrate from issuing an arrest warrant for violating another state’s law that criminalizes helping someone obtain an abortion or from mutilating their genitals.

An Illinois lawmaker introduced a similar sanctuary bill late last year. The state House passed another bill Friday to increase protections for patients and providers of abortions and gender-bending treatments.

In Minnesota, where Democrats gained a trifecta of state government control in the midterm elections, a new bill would give the state jurisdiction in child custody cases involving parents who bring their children to Minnesota for gender-bending procedures.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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