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South Dakota just passed a bill that could jail doctors for treating transgender youth

transgender rights
Transgender rights sign at the Women's March on Washington.Photo: Ted Eytan on Flickr

The South Dakota House of Representatives has passed a bill that would jail medical professionals for providing health care to transgender youth. The state has repeatedly tried to pass laws meant to harm transgender people in recent years.

House Bill 1057 may be the worst of the anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in this session, but it isn’t the only one. A separate bill filed yesterday would “prohibit the state from enforcing, endorsing or favoring policies” that prevent discrimination against LGBTQ people and same-sex marriages.

Related: Puberty blockers reduce suicidal thoughts in trans people. Republicans want to ban them.

HB 1057 would make it a crime for doctors to prescribe puberty-blocking medication or offer any type of gender confirmation care to a transgender minor under the age of 16. Doctors could get up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,000 for following current medical standards of care.

The bill also defines sex as “the biological state of being female or male, based on sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles.”

“Well, you know, if you care about kids I think you have to prioritize them,” Deutsch said, discussing his bill that would ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. He called gender-confirming medical care the “mutilation of our children.”

“I don’t care if it’s doctors, I don’t care if it’s parents,” Rep. Fred Deutsch (R), the bill’s sponsor, said on an episode of hate group leader Tony Perkins’ podcast. “These kids on the internet, they share these pictures of themselves that just blow you away – of all these surgical scars and it’s terrible. That should not ever be allowed.”

And then he compared those doctors and parents to Nazis.

“To me, that’s a crime against humanity, when these procedures are done by these so-called doctors, you know, that dance on the edge of medicine. I just don’t think it should be done. I think – you know, I’m the son of a Holocaust survivor. I’ve had family members killed in Auschwitz. And I’ve seen the pictures of the bizarre medical experiments. I don’t want that to happen to our kids. And that’s what’s going on right now.”

Republicans in at least ten states move to ban any gender confirmation-related medical care for transgender youth.

The South Dakota bill could be sent to the state senate for a committee hearing as early as next week.

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