Gov. Tate Reeves (R-MS) signed a bill Tuesday outlawing sex-change procedures for minors and punishing doctors who push cross-sex drugs and procedures on those under 18.
House Bill 1125, known as the “Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures (REAP) Act,” overwhelmingly passed Mississippi’s Republican-led Senate 33-15 last week after passing the state House 78-30 in January. Now, after Reeves’ signature, Mississippi state law bars health care providers from performing gender reassignment surgeries, prescribing and administrating puberty-blocking drugs, and giving cross-sex hormones to trans-identifying children.
“There is a dangerous movement spreading across America today being pushed onto our children through radical activists, social media, and online influencers,” Reeves said at the bill’s signing, adding that radical gender ideology “threatens our children’s innocence and threatens their health.”
Under the new Mississippi law, doctors and healthcare professionals who “knowingly provide gender transition procedures to any person under 18 years of age” will have their medical license revoked by the state. The law also prohibits public funds from being used for gender transitions on minors.
Daily Wire host Matt Walsh, who has been on a crusade in his home state of Tennessee to protect children from the dangers of transgender treatments, joined Reeves in Jackson, Mississippi, for the bill’s signing.
“These kids are put on so-called puberty blockers to chemically castrate them, and before the age of 18, many will undergo surgery,” Walsh said. “They cannot consent to it and they cannot understand the long-term effects of it.”
“They need love and clarity, not hormone supplements and scalpels,” he added. “Our kids cannot protect themselves. We need to do it. That’s our job as adults.”
Republican state Sen. Joey Fillingane clarified that Mississippi is only banning transgender surgeries for those who are not legal adults.
“I just want everyone to be very crystal clear: Once you’re 18 if this bill becomes law … this bill would recognize you can have any procedure on your body you want to,” Fillingane said during Senate floor debate. “So what we’re really talking about here are these procedures for persons 17 years of age and under.”
Mississippi’s move to prevent minors from making irreversible changes to their bodies comes after Tennessee’s state legislature sent a bill to Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s desk last week that would ban such procedures as mastectomies on girls who come to believe they are boys and make it illegal to give children cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers. The bill is expected to be approved by Lee, who has previously signaled that he supports the measure.
“We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children. With the partnership of the General Assembly, this practice should end in Tennessee,” Lee said in the fall after an investigation by Walsh revealed that the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) had performed double mastectomies on minors.
Other Republican-led states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, South Dakota, and Utah have also restricted or banned sex-change procedures for minors. The bill Alabama passed last year made it a felony to prescribe puberty blockers and hormone treatment to trans-identifying minors, but the law was temporarily blocked by a federal judge.
Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska are also considering bills that would prohibit doctors from performing similar procedures on minors.
Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.