“The Vulnerable Child Protection Act,” a bill to protect children struggling with their sexual identity, passed the South Dakota House. House Bill 1057 (HB 1057) moved forward with 46 representatives in favor and 23 voting against.

The bill prohibits medical professionals from prescribing puberty blockers or opposite sex hormones to children and teens aged 15 and younger whose self-identity is inconsistent with their biological reality. The bill also protects minors who think they are the opposite sex from so-called “gender affirming” surgeries – including castration, mastectomies and hysterectomies.

HB 1057 has now moved to the South Dakota Senate and is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Monday, February 10. The legislation makes it a misdemeanor for physicians to perform these surgeries or offer these prescriptions to minors.

Norman Woods is Executive Director of Family Heritage Alliance (FHA), a Focus on the Family affiliated Family Policy Council in South Dakota. After such a strong showing in the House, his organization is working with Representative Fred Deutsch and Senator Brock L. Greenfield, primary sponsors of HB 1057, to keep the legislation moving through the Senate and on to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.

Woods pointed to testimony by Rep. Jon Hansen, showing the need for the legislation, during the debate on the house floor: “This is about protecting the most vulnerable young children among us from making life altering decisions. We’re talking about injecting little girls…our South Dakota daughters, with testosterone. … There are no long-term studies on injecting testosterone into little girls.”

Hansen is right. These children should be protected.

For years, treatment for childhood sexual identity confusion consisted of helping children embrace their bodily reality as male or female. Or, treatment consisted of “watchful waiting,” a wait-and-see approach where parents were discouraged from socially transitioning their young children to living as the opposite sex – with clothes, hairstyles and name changes as part of the change.

When these approaches were used, most children “desisted” from pursuing an opposite sex identity and embraced their birth sex. As the American College of Pediatricians reports, “According to the DSM-5 [The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition] as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”

Now, however, some transgender activists and their allies call these approaches “anti-transgender” and claim that helping children resolve gender confusion amounts to “trans-genocide.” Instead, these groups take an aggressive “gender affirming” or “informed consent” approach, agreeing with children’s gender confusion and helping them socially transition. Even children as young as age two or three.

After social transitioning, the treatment for these gender confused children is to prescribe puberty blockers to stop biological adolescent development. As they get older, they are then given opposite-sex hormones. Some have surgeries so that their bodies look more like the opposite sex. Hundreds of children now receive such experimental treatment in the U.S.

Many of the effects of these drugs, hormones and surgery are irreversible, and it’s unclear how much “informed consent” children, adolescents and young adults, with their still developing brains, can give to a process that permanently alters their bodies. 

Many children who receive puberty blockers, hormones and surgery grow up to regret their decisions. As a result, a number of  states are looking to ban puberty blockers, hormones and surgery for minors. In addition to South Dakota, these include ColoradoFlorida, IllinoisKentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

To learn more about HB 1057 and to take action:

South Dakota Legislation Would Protect Gender-Confused Children From Body-Altering Drugs, Hormones and Surgery

“The Vulnerable Child Protection Act” informational website: https://hb1057.com/

South Dakota residents who want to take action on this issue can connect with Family Heritage Alliance (FHA), a Focus on the Family affiliated Family Policy Council. FHA has a website where voters can contact their state senators about HB 1057: http://fhaaction.org/action-center/

Concerned citizens in other states can sign a petition to encourage South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to support banning drugs and surgery for gender-confused minors.