Utah bill looks to ban gender-affirming surgery for minors

A Utah state lawmaker introduced a that will ban gender-affirming surgeries on minors, according to reports.

Republican Sen. Michael S. Kennedy introduced the bill in December, and on Wednesday it received a favorable recommendation.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the bill would prohibit surgeries on minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a term that describes when a person senses a mismatch between their gender identity and biological sex.

Earlier in 2022, another bill introduced would have blocked gender-altering surgery and the use of puberty blockers or hormone therapy on minors. But the bill never moved forward and died.

If Utah were to pass the legislation, the Salt Lake Tribune explained, lawyers have warned it too could be challenged.

‘I think the guarantee we absolutely can count on is if we pass this legislation, there will be a lawsuit. The state will be involved in very, very expensive litigation. And I do believe the state will lose,’ Rep. Jennifer Dailey Provost, D-Salt Lake City told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Kennedy did not immediately respond to requests seeking additional information about the bill or why he was seeking to have a ban put in place.

Multiple states have cracked down on various forms of gender transition for minors amid the ongoing debate regarding what has become known as ‘gender-affirming care’ for young people.

More than half of states in the U.S. have either passed or attempted to pass bills restricting access to transgender treatments for minors.

As of November, Arkansas and Alabama are the only two states to have passed legislation issuing a total ban on transgender treatments for minors, although such are presently in legal limbo following court injunctions. Arizona, Tennessee, Texas and Florida have effectively issued partial bans. The restrictions in Texas and Florida did not emerge from legislation.

Provisions in some of the bills that have been passed or introduced include criminalizing medical professionals who provide transgender treatments to minors, punishing parents who help minors obtain such treatments, limiting insurance or Medicaid coverage of the treatments, and allowing damages to be filed against medical providers.

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