AP

Idaho governor signs ban on gender-affirming care for youth

Apr 5, 2023, 9:44 AM | Updated: 9:54 am

(AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)...

(AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)

(AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)

Idaho’s governor has signed a bill criminalizing gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

Idaho is at least the 12th state to enact a law restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors, and nearly two dozen more are considering bills that would ban or restrict the care. Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, signed the legislation Tuesday evening.

The law is set to go into effect next January, making it a felony to provide hormones, puberty blockers or other gender-affirming care to people under age 18. Opponents of the legislation have warned it will likely increase suicide rates among teens, but proponents of the bill said it was necessary to “protect children” from medical or surgical treatments for gender dysphoria. Still, supporters have acknowledged there has been no indication that gender-affirming surgeries are being performed on transgender youth in Idaho.

“In signing this bill, I recognize our society plays a role in protecting minors from surgeries or treatments that can irreversibly damage their healthy bodies. However, as policymakers we should take great caution whenever we consider allowing the government to interfere with loving parents and their decisions about what is best for their children,” the governor wrote in his transmittal letter.

Every major medical organization, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association, supports gender-affirming care for youths.

Gender dysphoria is defined by medical professionals as severe psychological distress experienced by those whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth.

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Idaho governor signs ban on gender-affirming care for youth