PIERRE, South Dakota (LifeSiteNews) — South Dakota is one step closer to eliminating dangerous transgender drugs and surgeries for youth.
The South Dakota House on Friday passed a ban on “chemical castration and cosmetic genetical surgeries” for minors in an overwhelming 60-10 vote.
House Bill 1080, nicknamed the “Help Not Harm” bill, blocks healthcare professionals from prescribing or administering to minors under 18 any puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones or performing “any sterilizing surgery” on them, including hysterectomy and castration.
The bill also prohibits any surgery that “artificially constructs tissue having the appearance of genitalia differing from the minor’s sex” as well as procedures to “remove any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.”
Three Republicans and all seven Democrats in the South Dakota House voted against the bill, which now heads to the state Senate.
“We have heard stories of children as young as eight in South Dakota being injected with cross-sex hormones right here in our state,” Republican Rep. Jon Hansen said at a press conference last month unveiling the legislation. “Children that young, they cannot consent to this.”
House Bill 1080 requires professional and occupational licensing boards to revoke the licenses of healthcare professionals found to have violated the bill. It also includes a private action clause that allows individuals who underwent “gender transitions” as minors to recover damages for the mutilation that they suffered.
The bill does not restrict medical procedures for children with a “medically verifiable disorder of sex development” and for minors “needing treatment for an infection, injury, disease, or disorder” due to a previous “gender transition” procedure.
‘We’re really gaining momentum’
A similar bill, House Bill 1057, passed the South Dakota House in 2020 but later died in the state Senate largely due to lobbying by Sanford Health, a Sioux Falls-based healthcare system and the state’s largest employer.
Sanford Health offers so-called “gender-affirming care,” including puberty blockers for minors.
Conservative South Dakota lawmakers are more confident that the “Help Not Harm” bill will become law this time, however.
“There are just so many more people behind it this time,” said Rep. Bethany Soye, who co-sponsored the measure. “We’re really gaining momentum with House sponsorship and with citizens who are contacting their legislators.”
Gov. Kristi Noem endorsed the bill in a statement last month, despite her deep ties to Sanford Health.
“Governor Noem supports this legislation and will be watching as the legislature works through the process,” Noem’s chief of communications told The Daily Signal.
But it remains to be seen whether Noem will actually sign it. She reportedly opposed House Bill 1057 behind the scenes and reversed her support of a ban on gender-confused males in women’s sports in 2021.
Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are linked to serious and potentially life-threatening side effects, including cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Neither type of drug has been approved by the FDA for gender dysphoria or studied in randomized controlled trials or longitudinal studies with gender-confused minors.
So-called “gender-reassignment” surgeries result in irreversible mutilation and sterilization, and research shows that those who undergo them have exponentially higher suicide rates.
The Florida Department of Health released guidance in July warning against “gender transitions” due to “a lack of conclusive evidence” and “the potential for long-term, irreversible effects.” Systematic reviews on hormonal interventions “show a trend of low-quality evidence, small sample sizes, and medium to high risk of bias,” according to the guidance.
Florida’s state medical board voted in November to prohibit doctors from providing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and “gender-reassignment” surgeries to minors.
Several other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, have passed restrictions on the chemical and surgical mutilation of youth in recent years. Utah became the latest state to do so last week.
Democrat-led states have increasingly taken the opposite course, however. California codified legal protections for “gender transitions” with the first transgender “sanctuary state” law last year, and Democratic legislators in Illinois, Minnesota, and New York have proposed similar measures.