Indiana and Idaho became the latest states to ban sex-change procedures for minors this week, joining 13 other states across the country that have implemented prohibitions.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill Wednesday banning children under 18 from taking or being prescribed development-inhibiting drugs (“puberty blockers”) or undergoing genital mutilation — “sex-change”— surgeries. The bill mandates that minors taking cross-sex hormones or other similar drugs have until the end of the year to stop.
“Permanent gender-changing surgeries with lifelong impacts and medically prescribed preparation for such a transition should occur as an adult, not as a minor,” Holcomb said in a statement regarding the bill.
The law takes effect July 1, and doctors who violate it will risk losing their medical licenses.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little also followed suit by signing a bill criminalizing sex-change procedures like genital mutilation surgeries or puberty-blocking drugs for transgender-identifying kids under 18.
“In signing this bill, I recognize our society plays a role in protecting minors from surgeries or treatments that can irreversibly damage their healthy bodies,” Little wrote. “However, as policymakers we should take great caution whenever we consider allowing the government to interfere with loving parents and their decisions about what is best for their children.”
The Idaho bill goes into effect Jan. 1 and makes prescribing cross-sex hormones that irreversibly damage a child’s body and other “treatments” for children under 18 a felony.
Idaho and Indiana join 13 other states who have already passed legislation protecting children from irreversible medical procedures that will cause them lifelong harm. Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Federal judges have blocked the enforcement of Alabama’s and Arkansas’ bills.
In response to the new laws, both states’ local chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union announced they were filing lawsuits, arguing the bans violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause for transgender-identifying children.