Gov. Kristi Noem receives applause in the House chamber at the state Capitol in Pierre during her 2023 State of the State Address. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)
Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill into law Monday that would ban some forms of health care for transgender youth.
HB 1080 is dubbed the “Help Not Harm” Bill by proponents. When it takes effect July 1, it will ban health care professionals who treat transgender children from prescribing drugs such as puberty blockers and performing some types of surgeries. Health care providers could lose their license if caught providing the banned services and could also be held liable in lawsuits.
However, there are several exemptions in the legislation, including one for children who are “born with a medically verifiable disorder of sex development,” which proponents say covers medical situations when a child’s physical sex is unclear.
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“South Dakota’s kids are our future. With this legislation, we are protecting kids from harmful, permanent medical procedures,” Noem said in a news release. “I will always stand up for the next generation of South Dakotans.”
The bill has been met with resistance from LGBTQ advocacy groups, medical professionals and concerned citizens. Opponents argue the bill violates the rights of transgender children and their parents.
“It’s a huge government overreach into the patient-provider relationship,” Samantha Chapman, of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, told legislators during a committee hearing.
During the past several years, the World Health Organization changed its classifications. People who have a gender identity that does not match their physical, sexual characteristics are no longer classified as having a mental or behavioral disorder. They’re regarded as having a condition related to sexual health.
This is the 34th bill Noem has signed into law this year.
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