Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 8, 2023

Today, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted to advance legislation that would allow the government to intervene in private medical decisions, prohibiting doctors from providing life-saving gender-affirming health care to transgender South Dakotans.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1080. Medical decisions belong to patients (and their parents) and their doctors – not the government – and it is unconstitutional to single out one group of people and categorically ban all care.

“This bill represents vast government overreach that undermines the fundamental rights of parents, and by singling out gender-affirming care for categorical prohibition, House Bill 1080 violates the guarantees of equal protection and due process,” said Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Medical experts, parents, transgender youth and advocates from across the state have been speaking up in an attempt to stop this harmful bill from moving forward. But despite strong opposition, some of our lawmakers seem determined to move ahead with this shameful effort to prevent parents and kids from deciding the best course of treatment for themselves.”

By blocking medical care supported by every major medical association – including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association – House Bill 1080 represents a callous disregard for the health and wellness of South Dakota’s transgender youth.

Laws similar to House Bill 1080 that passed in Arkansas and Alabama are currently enjoined by federal courts.

About the ACLU of South Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The team in South Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of South Dakota.