Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has introduced a bill that would make providing gender affirming care for transgender minors a class C felony, ban federal funds—including Medicaid funds—from being used for gender affirming care for transgender people, ban medical schools from teaching about gender affirming care, stop health care plans under the Affordable Care Act from funding gender affirming care, and ban anyone found to have performed gender affirming care from immigrating to the U.S.
Called the “Protect Children’s Innocence Act,” Greene’s bill lists a number of procedures that aren’t performed on minors, including “castration,” “vasectomy,” “any plastic surgery that feminizes or masculinizes the facial features,” and “any placement of fat or artificial implants in the gluteal region.”
While gender affirming surgery is not performed on minors, the bill also bans puberty blockers and hormone therapy. Puberty blockers are used in the treatment of transgender youth to hold off the permanent changes of puberty so that young people have more time to understand their gender identities better. The reversible medications have been shown to significantly reduce lifelong suicide risk among transgender people. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and other major medical/mental health organizations all support gender-affirming care for pubescent youth when appropriate.
While these procedures would be banned when performed on transgender patients, the bill makes it clear that doctors are still free to operate on intersex people to make their bodies look more like a certain sex.
The bill says that people who get gender affirming care cannot be prosecuted. It targets health care professionals and threatens them with jail time if they provide care in accordance with prevailing medical standards. Federal class C felonies have a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.
Greene says she has 12 Republican cosponsors for her bill. The list includes other extremists like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is currently under investigation for the alleged sex trafficking of children. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO)—another anti-LGBTQ extremist—is not one of the original cosponsors of Greene’s bill.
Calling gender affirming care “child abuse,” Greene said on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last week that it “should never happen” and “is so disgusting and appalling and it’s an embarrassment to our country.”
“It’s really genital mutilation, it’s puberty blockers that cause chemical castration, teenage girls actually having their breasts chopped off, teenage boys being castrated,” she said. “This needs to be illegal.”
She explained that her bill will make it a class C felony “for any person involved in so-called gender-affirming care,” specifying that that includes puberty blockers and hormone therapy.
LGBTQ advocates oppose the bill.
“All people, including transgender young people, deserve access to health care that helps them live safe and healthy lives,” said Dr. Kellan E. Baker in a statement. Baker is the executive director of the Whitman-Walker Institute. “For transgender children, pediatricians provide social support, such as encouraging a family to allow a child to wear clothing or a hairstyle that helps them feel more comfortable. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, but the reality is that the only form of gender-affirming care for children is social support that helps kids understand and explore their gender as they grow up.”
“Bills attacking health care providers and patients are dangerous political stunts. This is pure misinformation and goes against decades of research and medical expert recommendations. Politicians have no business meddling in families’ personal health care decisions.”
“This attack makes clear that the federal government must finalize and implement expanded nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act to ensure that all people, including transgender people, have a fair opportunity to access the health care they need.”