Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios
controversial bill Bills to ban gender-affirming health care and suspend the use of puberty blockers for transgender children are fast moving through the Utah legislature.
detail: SB 16, sponsored by Sen. Michael Kennedy (R-Alpine), would also ban surgery on minors “for the purpose of achieving gender change.”
- It would allow patients to sue providers who provide hormone therapy and puberty blockers.
- Kennedy said he introduced the bill to allow for more research on the long-term effects of gender-affirming health care.
Yes, but: Last year, the American Medical Association said “government interference” in gender-affirming healthcare is “harmful” to transgender children and adults.
- According to a statement from the AMA, “Gender-affirming care is medically necessary, evidence-based care that improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people.”
big picture: So far, 11 states, including Utah, have introduced similar bills this year.
Newest: The bill passed the Senate on Friday with a final vote of 27-7 and will now go to the House of Representatives.
- “The House is going to pass this bill, and I know it’s going to change. I know everybody’s interested in what this bill says,” Kennedy, the family physician, said on the Senate floor last week.
the other side: “This could have potentially significant implications for the mental health of transgender youth in Utah,” James McGraw, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Bowling Green State University who studies mental health disparities in LGBTQ+ people, told Axios. “[They’re] Basically, an entire approach to better mental and physical care is eliminated for them. “
- Sen. Nate Blouin (D-Salt Lake City) read Friday a letter from his transgender legislative interns opposing the bill.
- “Even before the Senate passed SB 16, this bill had negatively impacted my health and well-being and adversely affected Utah’s transgender community,” he read.
- Democratic lawmakers also expressed concern about the bill’s legal ramifications.
Between the lines: Kennedy said he would not set a timetable for the suspension and said he did not want to rush the research.
flashback: Last year, the Legislature overturned Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto to pass a bill that would bar transgender girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity.
- Its implementation is currently on hold due to a lawsuit.