OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 6:55 PM – Friday, April 21, 2023
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed a legislation that bans transgender health care in the state and makes it illegal to provide gender-affirming treatment to anyone under the age of 18.
A healthcare professional who performs sex reassignment surgery on a juvenile may be charged with a crime under the new law. It is effective immediately and it carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and $20,000 in penalties.
Additionally, it gives prosecutors the power to charge a provider for giving a transgender child gender-affirming medicine like puberty blockers. Such a crime would be punishable by up to 360 days in jail and $3,000 in penalties.
Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the bill that Burgum signed, overriding their veto, though several Republicans did join the Democrats in voting against it.
Burgum (R-N.D.) released a statement saying that the law is “aimed at protecting children from the life-altering ramifications of gender reassignment surgeries.” However, he says that medical professionals have testified that these surgeries have not been and are not currently being performed on minors in North Dakota.
“Going forward, thoughtful debate around these complex medical policies should demonstrate compassion and understanding for all North Dakota youth and their families,” he said.
The Republican also signed a ban on transgender athletes into law earlier this month after it passed in both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities. Burgum vetoed a measure in 2021 that would have banned transgender athletes at the time, but there weren’t enough votes in the House or Senate to overturn it.
In order to treat children with “precocious puberty,” a disorder that causes sexual development to start considerably earlier than typical, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had authorized puberty blockers 30 years ago. Hormones, which are synthetic versions of estrogen and testosterone, have been used as birth control tablets or to treat hormone abnormalities for many years.
The drugs had not been officially authorized by the FDA to treat young people who are questioning their gender, but they have been used for many years “off label,” which is a common and recognized procedure for many medical issues. These decades of usage, according to physicians who treat transgender patients, are evidence that the medicines are not experimental.
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