Utah minors can no longer receive sex-reassignment surgeries after Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, signed a bill restricting transgender medical procedures on Saturday.
The bill prohibits “performing sex characteristic surgical procedures on a minor for the purpose of effectuating a sex change” and allows minors to bring legal action against the person who performed sex-reassignment surgery on them if they later renounce consent.
“More and more experts, states, and countries around the world are pausing these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences,” Cox said in a news release.
Senate Bill 16 also subjects sex-change hormonal treatments to a review and certification process. It raises qualification requirements for providers prescribing hormone treatment and prohibits prescriptions for patients diagnosed with gender dysphoria after a certain date.
The governor signed the bill the day after the Legislature sent it to his desk, and it took effect immediately. State Sen. Michael S. Kennedy, R-Alpine, sponsored the bill.
Kennedy, a former family physician, said sex-reassignment procedures “lack sufficient long-term research,” local radio station KUER reported.
“But still, our country is witnessing a radical and dangerous push for children to enter this version of health care,” Kennedy said.
The Florida Department of Health released similar guidelines in April prohibiting sex-reassignment surgery and puberty blocker or hormone therapy prescriptions for minors. Alabama criminalized sex-reassignment procedures for minors in April as well, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate sex-change procedures as child abuse in February.
The Utah ACLU chapter released a statement opposing SB 16, saying, “Further studies of hormone treatment, as required in this bill, are unnecessary as there is already a wealth of scientific evidence and consensus among major medical and professional organizations supporting hormone treatment for transgender youth.”
Utah became the first state to ban sex-reassignment surgery for minors in 2023.
“Legislation that impacts our most vulnerable youth requires careful consideration and deliberation,” Cox said. “While not a perfect bill, we are grateful for Sen. Kennedy’s more nuanced and thoughtful approach to this terribly divisive issue.”
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