PIERRE, S.D. — The Vulnerable Child Protection Act House was passed by South Dakota lawmakers during a committee hearing Wednesday, Jan. 22.
The bill would make it a class one misdemeanor for a medical professional to perform a gender-affirming operation or surgery or prescribe hormone replacement therapy to aid a child’s gender transition or in an attempt “to change or affirm the minor’s perception of the minor’s sex, if that perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex,” the bill states.
Bill 1057 passed out of the House State Affairs Committee with a 8-5 vote after South Dakota lawmaker.
State Rep. Fred Deutsch, R-Florence, is the main sponsor of the bill. The bill has 46 cosponsors.
“This diverse group supports the bill, because they believe the procedures listed in this bill are not health care, but criminal acts against vulnerable children, who are too young to understand the impact that sterility, mutilation and other health risks that are life long will have on them later in life,” Deutsch said during the hearing.
The original language of the bill was amended during the hearing to change the age from under 18 to under 16.
"We want to give children those under the age of 16, the youngest and most vulnerable people, the time to simply grow up,” Deutsch said.
The bill would prohibit physicians from performing any of the following procedures or treatments on anyone under the age of 16 for the purpose of changing or affirming the child’s sex:
Performing the following surgeries: castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, metoidioplasty, orchiectomy, penectomy, phalloplasty and vaginoplasty.
Performing a mastectomy.
Prescribing, dispensing, administering, or otherwise supplying the following medications: Puberty-blocking medication to stop normal puberty, supraphysiologic doses of testosterone to females, supraphysiologic doses of estrogen to males.
Removing any otherwise healthy or non diseased body part or tissue.
Nurses would be exempt from prosecution.
Scott Newgent, a transgender man, testified in support of the bill due to the major health complications that he experienced during his own medical transition. Newgent did not include specifics on what those complications were, but said that this bill would “save your children.”
Dean Krogman, a lobbyist for the South Dakota State Medical Association, said that the legal implications that the state could face if this passes could be severe since the law has not been tested under the Equal Protection Clause.
Despite testimony from medical professionals in South Dakota, lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill cited that transgender minors aren’t capable of consenting to a medical transition.