Health and Wellness

Proposed Illinois law would make it illegal for doctors to treat transgender youth

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A bill introduced by Illinois Representative Tom Morrison would criminalize care for trans youth, leading to medical professionals potentially losing their license for providing puberty suppression drugs or other transgender-related care to those under the age of 18.

Titled the Youth Health Prevention Act, HB 3515 would prevent doctors from providing specific surgeries, hormone prescriptions, or even referrals to doctors who specialize in transgender health care, saying that doing so is “unprofessional conduct and shall be subject to discipline by the licensing entity or disciplinary review board.”

A spokesperson from Equality Illinois, Myles Davis, spoke out at a news conference on Tuesday, saying, that HB 3515 “takes health care options away from Illinois children just because of their identity.”

Democratic State Representative Greg Harris, also present at Tuesday’s conference, went further, saying that HB 3515 “is harmful physically, it is harmful mentally, it is anti-science, and it seems to be designed to be personally hurtful to a group of people very intentionally.”

“I just don’t know why this would be before the Legislature,” added Harris.

Related: South Dakota lawmakers kill proposed law that would prevent teachers from mentioning trans people 

Lurie Children’s Hospital, which provides care to transgender youth in Chicago, also sent out a statement on HB 3515, advocating on behalf of their patients.

“Many of our patients develop anxiety or depression due to the severity of their distress,” reads the statement. ”These young people find a tremendous amount of relief from the medical services that we provide.”

“Through the use of medical and surgical interventions, their bodies begin to align more closely with their identities and they are able to focus their mental energy on normal, healthy parts of adolescence, like their studies, relationship building, developing goals for the future, and blossoming into independent adults.”

HB 3515 also defines sex primarily on genital configuration, saying, “In biology, an organism is male or female if it is structured to perform one of the respective roles in reproduction. This definition does not require any arbitrary measurable or quantifiable physical characteristics or behaviors; it requires understanding the reproductive system and the reproduction process.”

The bill adds, “Different animals have different reproductive systems, but sexual reproduction occurs when the sex cells from the male and female of the species come together to form newly fertilized embryos. It is these reproductive roles that provide the conceptual basis for the differentiation of animals into the biological categories of male and female. There is no other widely accepted biological classification for the sexes.”

Morrison has been behind other anti-transgender legislation in Illinois, including the introduction of HB 4474 in 2016. That bill would be forced transgender and gender nonconforming students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex at birth. That bill died in committee.

HB 3515 has been referred to the House Informed Consent Committee, and is unlikely to pass out of committee.

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