ACLU & Transformation Project oppose HB1080

(PRESS RELEASE)- Today, with an 11-2 vote, the House Health and Human Services Committee advanced House Bill 1080, legislation that would prohibit doctors from providing life-saving gender-affirming care to transgender South Dakotans.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes HB 1080. Medical decisions should be made between patients (and their parents) and their doctors – not politicians. By blocking medical care supported by every major medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, the legislature is compromising the health of trans youth in dangerous and potentially life-threatening ways.

“If House Bill 1080 passes, the state will be interfering in the relationship between doctors and their patients,” said Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Like all health care, health care for transgender youth is individualized and based on the needs of each particular person. This bill would take away private health care choices around the provision of medical care consistent with prevailing medical and scientific standards, and will result in devastating impacts to the mental health of transgender South Dakotans. Medical professionals, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient.”

HB 1080 continues the streak of bills that would codify discrimination against transgender youth that the South Dakota Legislature has attempted to pass over the last seven years.

The Transformation Project Advocacy Network believes bills like HB1080 only harm transgender kids and their families, and bills like these reflect a very frightening trend happening all over the country and right here in our state. Transgender youth deserve the same chance to thrive as their peers, and legislators are working to take that away. Families with trans kids in our state trust medical experts when it comes to big medical decisions, and lawmakers should not be interfering in the doctor/patient relationships.

“It’s a shame and a disappointment that our elected officials think they know better than parents who consult with expert South Dakota doctors when it comes to the best physical and mental wellness for our children,” said Susan Williams, Executive Director of Transformation Project Advocacy Network. “While the House just voted to invest in the mental health of our youth last week (HCR 6008), today the committee voted to penalize physicians for advising care proven to drastically improve the mental health of transgender youth.”