Tennessee lawmakers have filed a bill to ban the controversial practice of pediatric medical gender transition in the state.
Tennessee Majority Leaders William Lamberth and Jack Johnson, both Republicans, introduced the Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act on Wednesday, November 9, which would effectively bar doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and performing gender-related surgeries on minors for the purpose of medical transition. It would also allow patients and their families to sue for damages and let the courts impose an additional $25,000 penalty for each violation.
“This bill is about protecting children,” said Johnson. “Under no circumstances should minors be allowed to undergo irreversible elective procedures to mutilate body parts and intentionally harm their reproductive systems. This practice comes with lifelong health complications that children are not capable of understanding.”
The Republican leaders committed to writing the bill in September after Daily Wire host Matt Walsh released a viral video of a doctor at a Nashville university hospital referring to gender-transition procedures as “huge money makers.”
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) “paused” all gender transition surgeries on children in October after Tennessee State representatives sent a letter to VUMC officials, urging them to “halt all permanent gender transitioning surgeries on minor children.”
The reporting on pediatric gender clinics and “gender-affirming” care, which effectively puts children in the driver’s seat to dictate the terms of their own sex change, has raised nationwide awareness and serious ethical concerns about the medications offered and procedures performed on minors.
None of the U.S.-based organizations that endorse “gender-affirming” care have done systematic reviews of the evidence, while arguably more “progressive” European countries like Sweden, Finland, and England have. After reviewing the evidence for the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in treating pediatric gender dysphoria, health authorities in all three countries have decided to abandon the “gender-affirming” model, finding the costs outweigh the benefits.
Florida additionally approved a rule last week prohibiting minors from receiving gender transition surgeries, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones, making it the first ban in the country instituted by a state medical board.
“Interfering or destroying the healthy, normal reproductive organs of a child for the purpose of altering their appearance is profoundly unethical and morally wrong,” Lamberth said. “Tennesseans across our state have demanded an immediate call to action.”
“Through the passage of House Bill 1/Senate Bill 1, Tennessee will protect vulnerable children who cannot give informed consent for adult decisions they aren’t ready for,” Lamberth added.
The Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act would also create a private right of action, allowing a minor or the parent of a minor who sustained injuries due to medical transition to sue for damages. Additionally, it would enable a child to bring a civil cause of action against a parent if that parent helped to facilitate their child’s medical transition.
The bill would allow courts to impose a $25,000 penalty per violation and the state attorney general to bring an action against a healthcare provider for knowingly violating the law within 20 years of the offense. The proposed bill would require the state attorney general to establish a process for reporting violations of the law.
The bill makes an exception for providing hormones and/or surgeries for children born with chromosomal anomalies or congenital defects that result in developmental sex conditions. The 113th Tennessee General Assembly is scheduled to convene on January 10, 2023.