Helping a child obtain a “gender transition procedure” could soon be classified as first degree child abuse in Michigan.
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House Bill 6454, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township) with a group of other Republican legislators, would place a parent or guardian that knowingly or intentionally consents to, obtains, or assists with a “gender transition procedure” for a child under penalty for first degree child abuse.
According to the bill, this care is considered a cause of serious mental or physical harm to a child.
The bill defines “gender transition procedure” as “any procedure related to a gender transition, whether performed or administered by a physician or other licensed medical professional or any other person.” According to the bill, this includes the administration of puberty-blocking drugs like testosterone or estrogen as well as gender confirmation surgeries.
Violating the provisions of this bill would be punishable by a maximum of life in prison.
Shortly after the bill’s introduction on Oct. 12th, Equality Michigan issued an action alert urging subscribers to contact their representatives and tell them not to support this bill.
“Gender affirming care is medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender youth,” Executive Director Erin Knott said in a statement. “Medical decisions belong to trans youth, their parents, and their doctors. Unfortunately, the Michigan House of Representatives are trying to come between youth and the care they need. House Bill 6454 is a reckless bill that, if passed, will have dangerous effects on transgender youth.”
Earlier this year, a proposal to ban transgender youth from school sports was proposed to the Legislature in the form of HB 5795, the state’s House School Aid budget proposal. This proposal included language that tied the funding to the requirement that schools “prohibit boys from competing in girls’ athletic activities,” but this language was ultimately not included in the final proposal signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on July 1st.
In a statement for The Hill, co-sponsor of the bill Rep. Beau LaFave (R – Iron Mountain) emphasized his belief that youth should not be able to consent to this type of care.
“People are abusing these children,” LaFave said. “The idea that we would be making potentially life-altering changes to 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kids when it is illegal for them to have sex is insane. I mean, they’re not responsible enough to smoke a cigarette until they’re 21.”
If the bill passes, Michigan would join Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas in restricting access to gender affirming care for youth.
Michigan was also 1 of 20 states that filed an amicus brief in support of 4 families of transgender youth and 2 physicians who challenged Arkansas’s law.
HB 6454 currently awaits a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.