Greg Gianforte, the Republican governor of Montana, signed a law limiting transgender medical procedures for children on Friday.
The “Youth Health Protection Act” bill forbids gender dysphoria-affected youth from having specific medical and surgical procedures, including puberty blockers.
The legislation’s text states that the goal is to safeguard adolescents from the pressure of any kind better to get dangerous untested puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and to have permanent, life-altering surgical procedures before becoming adults.
Gianforte’s press secretary, Kaitlin Price, issued a statement in which she stated that the governor was committed to shielding Montana’s young people from invasive medical procedures that might permanently change their healthy, maturing bodies.
Gianforte made many revisions that clarified that public dollars could not be used to cover costs for hormone blockers, cross-sex hormones, or procedures on April 17, indicating his willingness to approve the legislation.
The governor, a Republican, claimed he had met transgender children and adults and understood their hardships. At the same time, he advised legislative leaders in a letter that any operations or hormone therapies should be postponed until the patients were adults because the science around the effects of various gender-switching procedures is still unclear and developing.
In a statement on Gianforte’s signing of the legislation, state senator John Fuller, a Republican who supported the bill, said that the governor favors the health and safety of Montana’s children.
On October 1, the bill is expected to become law, adding Montana to a growing list of nearly a dozen states that have approved legislation similar to defending children against potentially fatal operations marketed by their proponents as gender-affirming care.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana have all stated that they will sue to stop the legislation.
The Triage of Organizations stated that gender-affirming care is essential to assisting transgender teenagers in achieving academic success, developing good friendships and family relationships, living authentically as themselves, and dreaming about the future.
The statement added that if this legislation becomes law, they will protect the legal rights of transgender children in the same way that they have in other jurisdictions that have engaged in this anti-science and prejudiced fear-mongering.
Some healthcare providers in Montana who oppose SB 99 stated on Friday that the procedures are still legal as of October 1 and longer if legal challenges are successful.
According to Dr. Kathryn Lowe, a pediatrician in Bozeman and a member of the Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, her crucial message to families is that this care is still legal.
The openly transgender Democratic state representative from Montana, Zooey Zephyr, denounced the law’s signing, calling it unethical to deny Montanans access to the care they require.
Zephyr violated etiquette by warning members they would have “blood on their hands” should they endorse the transgender procedure prohibition for kids during a discussion earlier in the week. As a result, Montana lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to prevent Zephyr from casting a vote on the House floor.