SD ACLU against legislation banning gender-affirming care for trans minors

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Trans Flag(Lena Balk)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 11:15 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The ACLU of South Dakota opposes legislation that would prohibit doctors from providing life-saving gender-affirming care to transgender South Dakotans.

HB 1080, which was introduced today by Reps. Bethany Soye and Jon Hansen, continues the streak of bills that would codify discrimination against transgender youth that the South Dakota Legislature has attempted to pass over the last seven years, says ACLU representatives.

Like all health care, health care for transgender youth is individualized and based on the needs of each particular person. This bill would take away private healthcare choices around the provision of medical care consistent with prevailing medical and scientific standards.

“Anytime policymakers spread lies and misinformation about trans people and their medical care, it’s dangerous. Rather than making medical care more affordable and accessible to people who need it, these legislators are trying to add another barrier, one that will be hardest on some of the most vulnerable people in our state. Transgender kids, like all kids, deserve a chance to experience joy, to learn in a safe environment, to get the health care that they need, and to survive into adulthood. When the government proposes laws that would stigmatize them and undermine their care, they lose those opportunities. The result of legislation like this won’t be that fewer kids grow up to be trans, it will be that fewer kids grow up.”

Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager

The link between gender-affirming care and improved mental well-being among teens is well documented. A peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that gender-affirming care is associated with significantly reduced rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth.

“Every year, South Dakota lawmakers zero in on transgender youth, and every year, the transgender community is hurt while meaningful problems go unaddressed. The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer. It’s time we stop these attacks and focus on issues that matter to the people of South Dakota. Discrimination against a marginalized group is a distraction from the state’s real needs and hurts us all.”

Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager

Federal courts have blocked the enforcement of legislative bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Arkansas and Alabama.