AP

South Dakota GOP lawmakers push trans youth health care ban

Jan 16, 2023, 8:46 PM | Updated: Jan 17, 2023, 11:09 am

South Dakota Republican Rep. Jon Hansen speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol, Tuesd...

South Dakota Republican Rep. Jon Hansen speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Pierre, S.D. Hansen is pushing a bill to outlaw gender-affirming health care for transgender youth. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

(AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A group of South Dakota Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday to outlaw gender-affirming health care for transgender youth, pushing the state to join at least a dozen others considering anti-transgender legislation this year.

The South Dakota bill, unveiled at a state Capitol news conference, aims to keep children younger than 18 from accessing puberty-blocking drugs, hormone therapy or surgeries that enable them to present as a gender different from the sex on their birth certificate. It would also punish doctors who provide the care by revoking their medical license and exposing them to civil litigation.

South Dakota Republicans have perennially considered bills aimed at limiting the health care, school facilities and sports teams that transgender youth can access. A law banning trans girls and college-age women from participating in sports that match their gender went into effect after the Legislature passed it last year.

Though other proposals aimed at trans youth have found mixed success in the Republican-controlled Statehouse, critics said that even bringing the proposals sends a harmful message to trans children.

“Gender-affirming care is a critical part for helping transgender adolescents succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family and really, truly live authentically to who they are,” Democratic Rep. Erin Healy said.

But Republican Rep. Jon Hansen, one of the lawmakers pushing the bill, argued that puberty was a “natural cure” for gender dysphoria, which is the distress felt when someone’s gender expression does not match their gender identity.

“This is a mental health problem that needs to be addressed,” said Republican Rep. Bethany Soye, who is the bill’s primary sponsor.

Samantha Chapman, the advocacy manager for the ACLU of South Dakota, said in a statement that the lawmakers proposing the bill were spreading “lies and misinformation” about trans people.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health said last year that teens experiencing gender dysphoria can start taking hormones at age 14 and can have certain surgeries at ages 15 or 17. The group acknowledged potential risks but said it was unethical to withhold early treatments, which can improve psychological well-being and reduce suicide risk.

However, conservative state lawmakers across the country have targeted trans health care. Last year, Arkansas and Alabama passed similar bans. But both were blocked by federal courts.

“Every year, South Dakota lawmakers zero in on transgender youth,” Chapman said. “And every year the transgender community is hurt while meaningful problems go unaddressed.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

1 day ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

2 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

2 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

3 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

8 days ago

boeing nasa...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing launches NASA astronauts for the first time after years of delays

Boeing launched astronauts for the first time Wednesday, belatedly joining SpaceX as a second taxi service for NASA.

8 days ago

South Dakota GOP lawmakers push trans youth health care ban