Gov. Kristi Noem has signed into law a bill titled “Help Not Harm,” which prohibits healthcare providers from prescribing or administering certain medical and surgical interventions for minors to alter their sex.
The new law, which will take effect from July 1, bans certain medical and surgical interventions like puberty blockers and genital surgery for transgender youth.
Healthcare providers who violate the ban risk having their medical license revoked and may face legal action.
“South Dakota’s kids are our future. With this legislation, we are protecting kids from harmful, permanent medical procedures,” Kristi Noem said in a statement. “I will always stand up for the next generation of South Dakotans.”
However, minors with medically-verifiable disorders of sex development are exempt from the ban.
Supporters of the bill claim that it is intended to protect children from harmful and permanent medical procedures. Still, opponents argue that such decisions should be made with parents and physicians.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jack Johnson, said that the legislation would help “minor children who otherwise might be subjected to surgical procedures that remove body parts or being prescribed medications that make permanent changes to a child’s body.”
Similar legislation has been introduced in over 20 states prohibiting “gender-affirming care” for minors.
Banning health care professionals from prescribing puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and related surgeries to trans youth in the state, the Tennessee Senate also passed a similar bill along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor, 26-6.
However, opponents have argued that such legislation risks children’s well-being and access to health care.
Currently, bans on gender-affirming care for minors have been passed in Utah, Alabama, and Arkansas, but they are now blocked by courts as lawsuits continue.
Proponents argue that the new legislation is necessary to protect children, but critics claim that such decisions should be made in consultation with both parents and medical professionals.
Chloe Cole, an 18-year-old who testified before the Tennessee state Senate about her own experience with gender-affirming care, expressed support for the bill’s advancement.
Cole shared that she felt like a victim of such care when she underwent a double mastectomy procedure at the age of 15 as the only available treatment for her gender dysphoria.
“HB1 in Tennessee will protect children from the gender cult,” Cole said. “I’m confident we will see a day when children are no longer sterilized and surgically harmed in the name of a perverse and sexual ideology in Tennessee.”
During her testimony to the Tennessee state Senate, Chloe Cole, now 18, shared how she fell victim to what she believed was the only treatment for her gender dysphoria at age 15.
She underwent a double mastectomy, which she now claims caused physical harm, as well as lied to her parents that she would kill herself if she didn’t transition medically to male.
Cole expressed that she only began feeling suicidal after receiving treatment for gender dysphoria.
The bill’s sponsor in Tennessee, Sen. Jack Johnson, explained that the legislation protects minors from undergoing surgical procedures or being prescribed medications that cause permanent changes to their bodies.