Tennessee lawmakers have introduced legislation to outlaw the contentious practice of pediatric medical gender transition in the state.
The Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act, which was proposed this week by Tennessee’s Republican majority leaders William Lamberth and Jack Johnson, effectively forbids doctors from prescribing puberty inhibitors, transgender hormones, and conducting gender-related procedures on kids for the purpose of medical transition. It would also empower patients and their families to sue for monetary damages, with the courts imposing a $25,000 fine for each infraction.
“This measure is about safeguarding children,” Johnson explained. “Under no circumstances should kids be allowed to undergo irreversible elective treatments that mutilate bodily parts and impair their reproductive systems. This technique has long-term health consequences that youngsters are incapable of comprehending.”
In October, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) “paused” all gender transition procedures on children in response to a letter from Tennessee State Representatives requesting VUMC administrators to “stop any irreversible gender altering surgery on minor children.”
The reporting of youth gender clinics and “gender-affirming” care, which essentially puts children in charge of deciding the conditions of their own sex transition, has generated national awareness as well as severe ethical questions regarding the drugs supplied and surgeries performed on kids.
None of the groups in the United States who support “gender-affirming” treatment have conducted systematic assessments of the data, but arguably more “progressive” European nations such as Sweden, Finland, and England have. Following a review of the data regarding the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in the treatment of pediatric gender dysphoria, health officials in all three nations have opted to reject the “gender-affirming” strategy, concluding that the costs exceed the benefits.
Florida also adopted a rule last week preventing minors from having gender transition procedures, puberty blockers, or cross-sex medications, making it the first state medical board-enacted ban in the U.S.
“Interfering with or damaging a child’s healthy, normal reproductive organs to modify their look is highly immoral and ethically unacceptable,” Lamberth added. “Tennesseans across our state have called for swift action.”
“With the passing of House Bill 1/Senate Bill 1, Tennessee will safeguard vulnerable children who are unable to offer informed consent for adult decisions they are not prepared to make,” Lamberth continued.
The Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act would also provide a private right of action, allowing a minor or a minor’s parent to claim for damages if they were injured as a result of medical transition. Additionally, if a parent assisted in their child’s medical transition, it would be possible for the child to file a civil claim against that parent.
The measure would empower courts to levy a $25,000 fine per violation and the state attorney general to file a lawsuit against a healthcare practitioner who intentionally violated the law within 20 years of the violation. The proposed measure would force the state attorney general to create a system for reporting legal infractions.
The measure includes an exemption for infants born with chromosomal abnormalities or congenital problems that result in developing sex conditions to receive hormones and/or procedures. The 113th Tennessee General Assembly will meet on January 10, 2023.