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Republicans kill bill to criminalise doctors who treat trans kids after fierce backlash

Nick Duffy February 11, 2020
South Dakota kills bill to criminalise doctors who treat trans kids

Elliot, 16, holds signs he made for the protest of South Dakota House Bill 1057 on February 10, 2020. (Photo by Steel Brooks for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A South Dakota bill that would criminalise doctors who provide treatment to trans kids has been shelved after an outcry from medical experts and LGBT+ campaigners.

The Republican-controlled state house had backed the bill, which makes it illegal for doctors to give medically necessary care to trans children and teenagers, by a vote of 46-23 in January.

Doctors in South Dakota who prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to under 16s with gender dysphoria could face a year in prison and a $2,000 fine under the extreme proposed law.

South Dakota senators schedule anti-trans bill discussion for quarter past never.

However, after a prolonged outcry from medical experts and campaigners, the bill was quietly killed in the South Dakota senate on Monday – as lawmakers on the health and human services committee opted by vote of 5-2 to schedule the bill for “day 41” of the legislative session.

As the legislature only sits for 40 days, the move effectively spikes the bill – preventing it from coming to the floor of the state senate for a vote unless a majority of senators back a push to intervene.

However, a revolt seems unlikely to happen. The bill’s Republican sponsor, representative Fred Deutsch, conceded to CNN: “As far as I am concerned the issue is dead for the remainder of the year.”

He added: “I set out to have a conversation with South Dakotans and believe I was successful, because the bill heightened parents’ awareness about the issue.”

The killing of the bill was celebrated by LGBT+ campaigners.

Fears of copycat bills in other Republican-controlled states.

Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said: “Across South Dakota, transgender and non-binary youth and their families were able to stand up, make their voices heard and make a difference.

“It’s heartening to see how strongly South Dakotans stood against HB 1057 and that elected officials in the state are standing up against the misinformation and anti-transgender attacks that came from the bill’s proponents.

“Now, as similar bills pop up in other states across the country, we’re hopeful that other states’ lawmakers will follow South Dakota’s lead in recognising that these bills are unnecessary, harmful and have no place in our state legislatures.”

Sam Brinton of The Trevor Project also hailed the “resounding victory for trans youth in South Dakota”.

They added: “We are hopeful that any state considering similar bills will join South Dakota in setting aside these attacks on trans youth to focus on real priorities to advance the health and wellbeing of all.”

More: anti-trans bill, Republican, south dakota, Transgender

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