Idaho governor signs bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors

Idaho's governor signed a bill Tuesday criminalizing gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors.

Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, said the bill will stop children from getting puberty blockers, hormone treatment or gender-affirming surgeries before they "are mature enough to make such serious health decisions."

"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 in a transmittal letter to state lawmakers. "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 governor wrote in his transmittal letter."

Opponents have warned that the bill, named the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, will actually harm children. The American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association all support gender-affirming care for youths. The bill will likely increase suicide rates among teens, experts said.

"Gender-affirming care is medically-necessary, evidence-based care that improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people," AMA Board Member Michael Suk previously said. 

Despite the assertions from major medical organizations, Republican lawmakers in more than two dozen states have pushed for bans on gender-affirming care. Other states have already restricted or banned gender-affirming care for minors.

Idaho's bill passed on a near party-line vote, with only one Republican voting no. The law is set to go into effect in January.


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