An Idaho bill to criminalize gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors overwhelmingly passed in the House, and now heads to the state Senate.
Arkansas and Alabama have already passed similar legislation and are both in court with the Biden administration over the controversial laws.
House Bill 71 would make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for parents to authorize or doctors to provide trans-specific healthcare services including hormones, medications that delay puberty and gender-reassignment surgery.
Lawmakers heard hours of testimony from transgender youth, their families and supporters, and medical professionals during a committee hearing, the Idaho Capital Sun reports.
Seventeen-year-old Eve Devitt put in blunt terms the importance of healthcare access to the trans community: “This bill threatens to not only bar me from receiving this care, but also from accessing the hormones that have single handedly not only improved but saved my life.”
Gender-affirming care — which can include social transitions support and mental health care in addition to medical interventions — for children and teens diagnosed with gender dysphoria are overwhelmingly supported by major national medical bodies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. Providing this type of care is the best strategy to mitigate adverse mental health impacts of young people with gender dysphoria, including increased rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations, experts say.
The Biden administration has also vowed to support youth and families’ rights to access this care, and condemned state systems that attempt to block them from it.
In addition to state laws in Arkansas and Alabama criminalizing this type of healthcare, Florida’s medical board has banned some gender-affirming procedures for minors and Texas has been subjecting parents and doctors who allow or provide this care to child abuse investigations.