As parents of transgender children in Texas grapple with the state's new law over providing gender-affirming medical care, Idaho parents are now facing similar issues, with even more restrictions piled on. The Idaho Statesman reports that on Tuesday, the Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill barring such medical care for transgender minors, tweaking existing state code that deals with female genital mutilation. The HB 675 legislation would make it a felony to give minors hormones or puberty blockers, which delay or stop puberty, or to offer them access to gender-reassignment surgery, which the Statesman notes is rarely seen in children.
NBC News notes that violating this law, if it came to be, could lead to life in prison for parents. The Statesman notes that if Idaho's legislation is signed into law, the state would join Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee in barring minors from receiving transition-related care. According to LGBTQ advocates and legal experts, however, this bill stretches beyond laws found in other states in that even parents bringing their children out of state to receive such medical care could still face charges. "We are seeing the severity of those policies start to really ramp up," Sam Ames of the Trevor Project, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing suicide in the LGBTQ community, tells NBC.
The House bill passed on a near-party-line vote, and Republicans are defending the legislation, saying it keeps kids from making a decision they might regret later, and that might affect their later desire to have children. "The ability to procreate is a fundamental right that must be protected," says Rep. Bruce Skaug, the sponsor of the bill, per the Statesman. "Don't let their bodies be sterilized." Democrats, however, are pushing back, noting such medical care is a "life or death" matter to prevent depression and suicide in transgender youth. "I hope those children know they are perfect and loved just the way they are, trying to live their truth," House Assistant Minority Leader Lauren Necochea says. The bill heads to Idaho's Senate next. (Read more transgender stories.)