By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The House Judiciary, Rules and Administrative Committee introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit providing any kind of gender-affirming medical care to a juvenile transgender person.
Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, introduced the bill that he deemed the “Vulnerable Child Protection Act.” He proposed adding a section to current Idaho code under female genital mutilation that the Legislature added in 2019 regarding ritualistic female genital mutilation performed by some faiths. The issue is unrelated to care for transgender people.
The House passed a similar bill last year, but the Senate declined to hear it.
Skaug’s bill would include both boys and girls and would prohibit any kind of gender-affirming medical care, including hormone blockers. Any person guilty of the “genital mutilation of a child” crime would be guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The current crime of female genital mutilation is punishable by up to life in prison. Skaug’s bill would amend it to a lesser punishment.
Skaug told the committee that all people have the right to procreation, and he believes any kind of gender surgery could violate that right.
“If we as a people believe laws should prevent children from smoking, drinking alcohol, getting tattoos, signing legal contracts, how can we possibly think its ok for that child to have these procedures on their bodies before they’re old enough to make those kinds of decisions,” Skaug told the committee. “Responsible psychology does not prescribe liposuction for bulimia.”
Skaug’s bill would not apply to physicians attempting to treat children with medically verifiably genetic disorders on sexual development.
Skaug’s bill makes a number of claims about children with gender dysphoria, including “some health care providers now routinely administer puberty blockers to prepubescent and pubescent children notwithstanding scientific evidence that children who remain on puberty blockers may never recover lost development and despite known sterility and additional concerns about reduced IQ and future osteoporosis.”
The bill does not cite where that information came from, nor which medical foundations support that claim.
Rep. Chris Mathias, D-Boise, voted to introduce the bill, but told Skaug he wanted to know the magnitude of the issue and wanted to see real examples of this being a problem in Idaho. Mathias also took issue with criminalizing physicians’ standards of care when Idaho has a shortage of physicians.
Rep. Colin Nash, D-Boise, was the only member to vote against introducing the bill.
Rep. Kevin Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, and Rep. Jordan Redman, R-Coeur d’Alene, are listed as co-sponsors, as well as Blaine Conzatti of the Idaho Family Policy Center.
The bill must still get a public hearing before it can move forward.