Amid a national epidemic of child-focused transgender policies that leave parents out of the equation, a Maryland bill enshrining parental rights appears to be garnering bipartisan support.

Maryland’s HB 722 would forbid health care providers from providing any transgender medical procedures, commonly called “gender-affirming care,” to minors without parental knowledge and consent.

Under the bill, anyone who authorizes or provides such transgender procedures to minors could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced to prison for one to three years.

State Del. Lauren Arikan, R-Harford County, who proposed the bill, wrote that it is necessary to “ensure the protection of minors from life-altering, permanent medical procedures that have not been proven as necessary or helpful in the treatment of gender dysphoria.”

The bill’s sponsors include 16 Republicans and three Democrats in the Maryland House of Delegates, bucking the national trend of a party-line split on the issue. 

In most recent cases across the nation, Democrats typically favored transgender-affirming policy for minors, while Republicans strongly opposed it.

Maryland’s lower legislative chamber, the House of Delegates, includes 102 Democrats and 39 Republicans.

Maryland is one of five states that allow 12-year-olds to consent to medical procedures without parental knowledge or consent.

A total of 22 states have passed restrictions on minors’ access to transgender medical procedures, which range from hormonal medication (which can result in sterilization and cancer) to the mutilation of healthy reproductive organs in boys and girls. 

At a hearing Wednesday on HB 722 before the Maryland House of Delegates’ Health and Government Operations Committee, state Del. Matt Morgan, R-St. Mary’s County, asked Jamie Reed, a former case manager for a pediatric gender-transition clinic affiliated with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, to describe the effects of hormone-blocking treatments on children.

Reed told the committee that “there are significant side effects to all medical treatments that are currently being used to medically transition.” She described both the derailment of healthy gland growth in young men (which is highly carcinogenic) and the process of creating a vagina using colon tissue (which can result in deadly infections). 

Photos and videos of the results of such medical procedures and the testimonies of those who participated have resulted in significant backlash across America from elected officials and parental rights advocates.

Specifically, voters and activists have expressed considerable outrage over liberal campaigns from organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project that attempt to provide minors with the agency to seek transgender medical treatment without parental knowledge or consent. These groups claim that if minors aren’t provided with unfettered access to transgender procedures, that alone or the stigma of speaking to their parents about it could cause them to commit suicide.

Additionally, liberal legislators around the nation have introduced bills that would classify failure to “affirm” gender transitions as child abuse, further separating parents from children who are struggling with mental illness.

The overwhelming public backlash against the push for minors’ access to gender treatments may have contributed to caution from Democrats in both red and blue states.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, vetoed legislation known as AB 957, which would have required judges in custody cases to take parents’ “gender affirmation” of their children into consideration.

In the Tennessee Legislature, three House Democrats  joined Republicans last February in passing a bill to ban minors’ access to transgender medical procedures.

In New Hampshire, 12 House Democrats joined Republicans in March in passing legislation to ban minors’ access to transgender surgeries. 

(This new level of caution isn’t limited to the United States. Last June, England’s National Health Service banned puberty-blocking hormonal therapies and transgender medical procedures for minors.)

Last month, Louisiana Democrats and Republicans overrode a veto by Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, of legislation restricting medical organizations from providing gender treatments to minors.

In Maryland’s case, HB 722 wouldn’t ban gender-affirming procedures altogether. However, it would require parents to be a part of the process as long as their child is a minor.

Following the Wednesday hearing, the bill likely will be brought up for a second reading before the Health and Government Operations Committee. 

The Maryland Senate, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 34 to 13, also would have to pass the bill before it could go to the desk of Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.