South Carolina Considers Legislation Prohibiting Transgender Medical Procedures on Minors

By Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor
Reporter
Matt McGregor covers news from North and South Carolina for The Epoch Times. Send him your story ideas: matt.mcgregor@epochtimes.us
April 16, 2022 Updated: April 17, 2022

South Carolina joins at least 10 other states with lawmakers considering legislation that would prohibit doctors from performing medical and surgical gender transitional procedures on minors who identify as transgender.

State Sen. Josh Kimbrell introduced on April 14 Senate Bill 1259, which would penalize physicians for performing the procedures.

Because the bill is in its early stages, specific penalties haven’t been drafted, but as it stands, the bill resembles other legislative efforts to prevent those under the age of 18 from committing to “irreversible gender reassignment.”

“It’s incomprehensible that we are allowing kids who wouldn’t even be allowed to vote, join the military, or buy a pack of cigarettes to make a decision about changing their gender,” Kimbrell told The Epoch Times.

Kimbrell said the gender-affirmation therapy that validates a child’s decision that he or she was born with the incorrect gender is a social agenda.

“Look, if there’s someone over the age of 18 who wants to change their gender, it’s a free country. I would never try to criminalize that,” he said. “But we are talking about sexualizing kids. I think that’s dangerous.”

He referenced an investigation in which lawmakers worked with the South Carolina Department of Education to find out why transgender propaganda material geared toward children had been found in the public-school library system.

In November 2021, Gov. Henry McMaster called for the investigation after reports of the graphic novel “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe surfaced in the Fort Mill School District.

The book contains explicit images of sexual acts between minors, with one identifying as transgender.

“I think that’s unhealthy because kids are too impressionable at that age to make an informed decision about their sexuality or gender identity,” he said. “I do not believe kids should be caught up in these social issue debates. And that’s what this bill is designed to do, to make sure that we’re not doing things to kids that’s irreversible, leaving them to get older and regret it.”

Because the sexuality of a person is core to his or her identity, Kimbrell said, that decision as to how it’s to be expressed is best made not by a parent, guardian, guidance counselor, teacher, physician, or government official, but through the person’s own discernment and growth as a person into adulthood.

Kimbrell said he’s also considering measures to defund the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) pediatric department that he said performs gender reassignment procedures.

MUSC didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Though the bill hasn’t taken public testimony yet, Kimbrell said he has physicians, pediatricians, and other medical personnel “who are willing to testify in favor of the bill.”

Other State Efforts

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation into law on April 8 making it a felony with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison if a physician gives pharmaceutical or surgical transgender treatment to a minor.

Alabama followed Arkansas, which became the first state to prohibit transgender treatment for minors in April 2021 after the Arkansas legislature voted to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the bill.

Though the Texas legislature hasn’t passed its own legislation prohibiting transgender treatment on minors, in February 2022, Gov. Greg Abbot ordered a probe on medical procedures for transgender children, directing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the procedures as a form of child abuse.

Other states considering prohibitions on gender-affirming treatment for minors are Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Opposition 

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ-advocate organization, and the White House have criticized the legislation, calling it discriminatory and antagonistic toward transgendered youth.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that lawmakers “who are contemplating these discriminatory bills have been put on notice by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that laws and policies preventing care that health care professionals recommend for transgender minors may violate the Constitution and federal law.”

Gender-affirming treatment for minors has been approved by medical boards such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

On March 31, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Population Affairs released a document titled “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People,” which endorses gender-reassignment surgery and hormone treatment for minors. On the same day, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), a division of DHHS, released a document titled, “Gender Affirming Care is Trauma-Informed Care,” which promotes surgical procedures for minors.

“Providing gender-affirming care is neither child maltreatment nor malpractice,” the NCTSN document states.

Patrick Lappert, a plastic surgeon with Lappert Skin Care in Alabama, spoke in favor of the Alabama bill. He told The Epoch Times that gender-affirming care has become the only method of treatment allowed, and it ignores cognitive treatment of gender dysphoria, which he said has a 92 percent success rate if the child is followed into young adulthood.

Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor covers news from North and South Carolina for The Epoch Times. Send him your story ideas: matt.mcgregor@epochtimes.us