January 28, 2020
Will Children Be Protected in South Dakota?

Will Children Be Protected in South Dakota?

Tony Perkins

South Dakota, the home of Mount Rushmore, is considering a bill that would tell doctors to rush less toward making irreversible changes to the bodies of children with gender dysphoria. House Bill 1057, the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, would prohibit medical personnel from giving puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, or gender reassignment surgery to minors under a certain age (16 in the latest version of the bill).

Transgender activists claim that these procedures are both medically necessary and harmless, claiming that withholding the oftentimes irreversible treatments could cause harm. These claims are false. Studies have shown that, if left to themselves (without medical intervention), up to 97.8 percent of children with gender dysphoria (a psychological discomfort with their biological sex) will come to accept their sex and do not become transgender adults. The administration of puberty-blocking drugs, however -- which interrupt not only normal sexual development but brain and bone development as well -- seems to lock children into a path toward a transgender identity. While some doctors claim the effects of puberty blockers are fully reversible if the child eventually changes his or her mind, this has not been demonstrated -- in the only study of the issue, 100 percent of the children went on to further gender transition procedures.

At one time, the use of cross-sex hormones or the performing of gender reassignment surgery on minors was rare. Now, however, these procedures are also being done at younger and younger ages, making legislation like South Dakota's urgently needed. Research is revealing that cross-sex hormones are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and blood clots, infertility, loss of bone density, and sexual dysfunction, among other things. Meanwhile, studies have documented girls as young as 13 receiving double mastectomies, and other minors receiving permanently sterilizing genital surgery.

The goals of H.B. 1057 are actually quite modest. The bill does nothing to prevent children from undertaking a social gender transition (changing their names and gender expression, for example). And it does nothing to prevent those with gender dysphoria from pursuing these radical medical procedures as soon as they reach adulthood. It would merely press the pause button on making life-altering changes to the bodies of those who are too young to understand the serious risks involved. Nevertheless, the radical transgender activists are doing everything they can to keep this bill from becoming law. If they succeed in blocking its passage in conservative South Dakota, it will make it much more difficult to protect vulnerable children anywhere else in the country.

A House committee approved H.B. 1057 last week, and the full South Dakota House of Representatives is due to vote on Wednesday. If you live in South Dakota, please contact your representatives today (you can locate them here) to urge them to support H.B. 1057.

In addition, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem -- normally a reliable pro-family public servant -- has publicly expressed reservations about H.B. 1057, which could be interpreted by legislators to mean that she does not want them to pass the bill. Please also call Gov. Noem's office at 605-773-3212 and urge her to protect vulnerable children by supporting H.B. 1057.