South Dakota is now the first state to pass legislation that would effectively force trans kids to detransition. The legislation, which marks the second state this year to attack healthcare for trans people, bans all gender-affirming care for patients under 18 years of age.
On Monday, notoriously pro-NRA and anti-trans rights Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed the bill into law, according to Vice. Though all bans regarding trans healthcare have been irreparably harmful, South Dakota’s law is explicitly violent and the first of its kind: Healthcare professionals have until the end of the year to stop treatment for patients currently receiving gender-affirming care, from hormone therapy and surgery to puberty blockers. Doctors who don’t comply will be at risk of losing their medical license or could be sued.
“South Dakota’s kids are our future. With this legislation, we are protecting kids from harmful, permanent medical procedures,” Noem said in a statement. The Republican majority state senate had previously passed the legislation, known as House Bill 1080, in a 30-4 vote.
The only sort of concession the legislation makes is that if a healthcare professional finds that “immediately terminating the minor’s use of the drug or hormone would cause harm to the minor,” the professional may “systematically reduce” the patient’s treatment over a period of time, according to language in the bill. The irony, of course, is that cutting off a minor’s gender-affirming care in any capacity would cause harm to the minor—from increased risk of suicide to heightened gender dysphoria and depression. To reverse any progress in the midst of a transition is not only brutal, but barbaric and inhumane.
But none of that matters to Noem, who is angling for a VP role within the next Republican presidential administration, and her radical stance on denying the lived experience and rights of trans kids seems to be helping her on that political crusade. Noem has consistently been one of the most vocal anti-trans governors in the country, and last February, South Dakota was similarly the first state to pass a law banning transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender, according to CNN.
South Dakota’s new law marks yet another installment in Republican’s multi-year flood of anti-LGBTQ bills, the vast majority of which attack trans people’s ability to exist freely in their state. Vice reports that lawmakers in at least 18 states are also eyeing gender-affirming care bans. Mississippi, for example, is considering legislation that mirror’s South Dakota’s in forcing youth to detransition, and a potential Florida bill would ban most gender-affirming care for minors without forcing those already under care to detransition. Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia have all introduced measures that would ban gender-affirming care for some adults.