A bill to ban sex-change procedures on minors in Tennessee passed in the state House on Thursday and will go to the desk of Republican Governor Bill Lee.
If signed by Lee, the bill will 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 passed the Republican-controlled body by a vote of 77-16.
“These treatments and procedures have a lifetime of negative consequences that are irreversible,” House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) said during the floor’s discussion of the bill.
The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Lamberth, is expected to be approved by Lee, who has previously signaled support for the bill.
“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 Daily Wire host Matt Walsh revealed that the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) had performed double mastectomies on minors.
VUMC paused all such surgeries in October 2022 after an inquiry from Republican lawmakers. In an opinion story for The Tennessean that same month, Lamberth said that the surgeries should be considered “abuse” and had no place in Tennessee.
“And let’s be clear: these treatments and surgeries are cosmetic. No procedure or drug can change a human being’s sex, the structure of their chromosomes or their DNA. It is surgical mutilation for the purpose of altering the appearance of a child and it qualifies as nothing less than abuse,” Lamberth said.
Earlier this month, Walsh testified in support of the bill in front of the House Health Committee at the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville. “We should be able to agree that it is never OK to chemically castrate, sterilize, butcher, or mutilate a child. And in fact, all decent people do agree on this point,” he said during his testimony. “But many of the people who hold power in this country and who run our institutions — including our medical institutions — do not pass this basic test of decency.”
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The bill could face legal challenges if signed as Left-wing groups in the Volunteer State, like the ACLU-TN, have vowed to sue, claiming that the life-altering procedures are “necessary” for children.
Lamberth previously told The Daily Wire that the issue should not be “partisan” and that most Tennessee citizens supported Republican-backed efforts to ban the gender procedures and protect children from explicit performances.
“An overwhelming majority of Tennesseans agree that children should be protected from sexual mutilation and adult performances with sexual content. This should not be a partisan issue,” he said.