Like any parent with young children, I've spent a lot of time at the doctor's office over the years. From routine well-baby visits and annual exams to (thankfully fewer) urgent care situations, I know my way around the clinic. My husband and I have had many questions and great conversations with our doctors regarding the best care for our family.
But you know who's never been a part of these conversations? Our legislators.
Medical decisions should be made between patients (and their parents) and their doctors – not politicians.
But that's not what some of our elected officials think.
House Bill 1080 would prohibit doctors from providing life-saving gender-affirming care to transgender South Dakotans.
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. Research shows that providing appropriate care to trans kids improves mental health outcomes, including decreased rates of depression and anxiety, substance use, and suicide attempts.
The truth is, gender-affirming care saves lives. Transgender kids, like all kids, deserve a chance to experience joy, learn in a safe environment, get the health care that they need, and survive into adulthood.
The result of legislation like this won't be that fewer kids grow up to be trans, it will be that fewer kids grow up. It's time to stop the attacks on transgender youth and focus on issues that really matter to the people of South Dakota.