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  • Writer's pictureAction Idaho

Lessons from Red States: Beware of Fake or Ineffective Bans on Transgender Treatments

The proposed Idaho law is much better than Utah's, except in one way.

Utah has passed new legislation to bar physicians from performing transgender surgeries on minors. It also bars hormone interventions for minors. The law contains a proviso, however, that these interventions are barred only when the minors have not been treated for gender dysphoria for six months. After six months of treatment, anything goes. Parents and children can still, under the law, shop around for a diagnosis and then get the treatments.

Doctors who perform such surgeries without the six months of treatment will have committed “unlawful conduct” and are subject to administrative penalties such as monetary fines or citations. It will be up to medical boards or district attorneys to bring charges. Utah offers a very narrow definition of the crime and weak, discretionary enforcement.

Why? The answer may be Gov. Spencer Cox.

Gov. Cox lauded the bill, but also apologized for it. “We will continue to push the Legislature for additional resources to organizations that work to help this important Utah community,” Cox said on Saturday, referring to the “transgender community.” Gov. Cox has shown weakness on transgender issues. Not only does he frequently introduce himself with his preferred pronouns (he/him), but he has also vetoed legislation that would bar biological males from competing in women’s sports—a veto that the Utah legislature overrode. Would such a man enforce the law to its fullest extent? Probably not.

This is not all the Utah legislation does. It classifies such treatments as ground for medical malpractice suits that could be made well into the future. It “specifies that an individual may bring medical malpractice action related” to treatments and procedures and allows older individuals to bring “medical malpractice action for treatment provided to the individual as a minor if the individual later disaffirms consent.” This is a crucial aspect of any effective legislation—an enforcement mechanism placed in the hands of the victim. This provision may not solve all of the Utah law's problems, but it goes a long way toward solving them.

Idaho’s approach seems to be different. On January 31, Rep. Bruce Skaug introduced a much better bill than the one introduced in Utah, but without the Utah’s malpractice claims. The bill generally revises Idaho's statute on genital mutilation. Rep. Skaug would make it a felony subject to a ten-year prison sentence if a physician offers “gender-affirming” medical care, including hormone blockers and the genital mutilation of a child.

No exceptions appear in the bill when it comes to active mutilation. “There are a small number of children who suffer genuinely from gender dysphoria,” Skaug said while introducing the bill to the Idaho House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee. “That’s a genuine mental issue that needs to be dealt with, and should still be dealt with, but not by cutting off healthy body parts.”

A Democrat, Rep. Chris Mathias of Boise, voted to move the bill forward. Rep. Mathias was skeptical over whether such a ban was necessary in Idaho. Such surgeries, he said, are not happening here. Skaug, obviously, wants to keep it that way. Rep. Mathias's support signals the need to have tough hearings on the issue, where doctors and hospital administrators must answer tough questions in front of committees. Here's hoping that the committees are ready to grill these so-called experts.

Expecting public prosecutors to enforce such laws, however, is a dicey gamble, since the mobs of tranny activists intimidate attorneys from enforcing laws. Would Lawrence Wasden have enforced such a law? Would any Boise city attorney today? Probably not. Raul Labrador will enforce these laws--but Labrador will not always be Attorney General.

On this score, Idaho can learn from Utah's malpractice laws. Transgender treatments are a crime, but they are also malpractice. If doctors are performing surgeries on people who do not need them and do not benefit from them, they are committing malpractice. If they prescribe drugs that do harm, that is malpractice. The victims of wrong or bad treatments should be empowered to gain settlements from doctors who commit malpractice—they should also be empowered to sue and win damages from hospitals that build profit centers off of the crazed transgender ideology.

Victims are much less likely to be cowed by the transgender crowd. They are more likely to pursue their rights in court. And they are more likely to win. A doctor will appeal to a jury that he was just trying to help—and win acquittal. A doctor who is accused by his former patient of malpractice is likely to lose in court—and such a ban would prove more effective. Malpractice claims make them pay!

Idaho’s ban is not fake. But one can worry whether it will be effective. It may deter many doctors from performing such treatments with criminal penalties. Malpractice claims, however, will always be there and are likely to prove at least as effective as criminal penalties. They could also involve the hospitals in the malpractice--something as hard to do as it is beneficial to the public.


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