The bill, which bans both transgender surgeries and puberty blockers for children, will likely be the first such measure passed in 2023 as other states also look to pass similar legislation protecting children from irreversible procedures.
“Our country is witnessing a radical and dangerous push for children to enter this version of health care,” said Republican State Sen. Michael Kennedy during a debate on the bill in the Senate. Kennedy, who sponsored the bill, said that transgender surgeries for children “lack sufficient long-term research.”
The bill passed 58-14 in the Republican-controlled House on Thursday before going back to the Senate, where it was approved again on Friday. “For me as a mother and a grandmother and as a nurse? I have a vested interest as all of us do in the health and wellbeing of Utah’s children,” said Republican Rep. Katy Hall, the sponsor of the bill in the House.
Republican Governor Spencer Cox is not expected to veto the bill despite previous opposition to a bill that would have prevented males identifying as females from competing in girl’s sports throughout the state.
“We’ll see if there are any changes made, but right now we’re not planning to veto either of them,” he said when asked about the transgender bill and another education-related bill.
If approved by the governor, the bill will immediately go into effect. However, it would not stop teens already on puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones from continuing their current procedures.
In certain situations, medical providers could also be sued for malpractice over hormonal treatments.
Democrats and LGBTQ groups opposed the bill, saying that transgender procedures, which include performing double mastectomies on teen girls, are “life-saving healthcare.”
“As Democrats, we stand in firm opposition to any legislation that restricts access to life-saving health care for our most vulnerable youth,” Democrat senators said in a group statement. “Additionally, we believe everyone should have the ability to amend their birth certificates to accurately display their name and identity without excessive barriers and intrusion from government.”
Other states, such as Tennessee and Montanna, are also looking at proposed bills to ban pediatric medical gender transitions. The bills come as transgender procedures, which have significant long-term effects, have exploded among minors.
From 2019 to 2021, at least 776 mastectomies were performed on teen girls with a gender dysphoria diagnosis ages 13 to 17 in the United States, according to Komodo’s data analysis of insurance claims analyzed by Reuters.