(Press Release) Today, House lawmakers voted to advance legislation that would prohibit doctors from providing life-saving gender-affirming medical care to transgender South Dakotans.
The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1080. Medical decisions belong to trans youth, their parents and their doctors – not the government – and it is unconstitutional to single out one group of people and categorically ban all care.
“House Bill 1080 flies in the face of common decency, basic human rights and the advice of every major medical association – not to mention federal law,” said Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “This bill not only represents vast government overreach that undermines the fundamental rights of parents, but also it’s dangerous. Transgender youth and their families should not be used as target practice to advance political careers. These families are our friends and neighbors, and they deserve better than this.”
By specifically singling out medical care related to gender transition, House Bill 1080 violates the U.S. Constitution in three separate and concurrent ways:
- · Discrimination against individuals based on sex
- · Discrimination against individuals based on transgender status
- · Violation of parent’s rights under the Due Process Clause
Doctors and medical organizations have been providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth for decades, and it is supported by every major medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. However, it has increasingly become a target of attacks from state lawmakers across the country. Federal courts have blocked the enforcement of legislative bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Arkansas and Alabama and no court in the country has ever classified gender-affirming care as child abuse.
“Discrimination against a marginalized group is a distraction from the state’s real needs and hurts us all,” Chapman said. “Transgender people live in our state and need to feel like the government represents them, too. The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer.”