Montana GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte has taken a decisive step towards protecting children from invasive medical treatments by enacting a bill banning transgender medical procedures for minors.
Senate Bill 99, which was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature earlier this year, prohibits hormone treatments and surgeries related to gender-affirming medical care for children under 18.
Supporters of the bill argue that these procedures can cause irreparable harm to developing bodies and should not be undertaken without the informed consent of the child’s parents.
Even with parental supervision, critics of transgender medical procedures for children believe it is a huge risk as the long-term effects of puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and other special treatments for transgender children are not completely understood yet. According to them, minors are too young to make such life-altering choices.
Opponents of the legislation, however, argue that it is discriminatory and cruel, denying young transgender people access to the medical care they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Their position on the matter, they claim, is borne out of the fear that taking away gender transition medical care from children would lead to suicides.
Several Democratic lawmakers have called the bill “tantamount to torture” and accused Republican legislators of putting “blood” on their hands by passing the legislation. Among those publicly opposed to the bill is Gianforte’s own non-binary child David Gianforte who uses both “he” and “they” pronouns.
According to David, he has tried to convince his father — as a constituent and as a son — to veto the bill, among others he considers unjust.
Despite these objections, the bill has now been signed into law by Gianforte. A spokesperson for the governor’s office defended the decision, stating that the governor was “committed to protecting Montana’s children from invasive medical treatments that can permanently alter their healthy, developing bodies.”
Aside from politicians, the legislation has also sparked controversy and outrage from left-wing advocacy groups and NGOs, who have already begun planning to fight the legislation. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has pledged to file a lawsuit against the state in order to protect transgender youth in Montana from being denied access to essential healthcare.