Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 14, 2023

Ignoring the warnings of families, advocates, health care providers and transgender South Dakotans themselves, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a law banning gender-affirming health care for any transgender person under 18.

“Today is a heartbreaking and tragic day for trans South Dakotans and their families. This ban won’t stop South Dakotans from being trans, but it will deny them critical support that helps struggling transgender youth grow up to become thriving transgender adults,” said Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “But make no mistake – this fight is not over. We will never stop fighting for the right of trans youth to the love, support and care that every young person deserves. As much as Gov. Noem wants to force these young people to live a lie, we know they are strong enough to live their truth, and we will always fight for communities and policies that protect their freedom to do so.”

South Dakota is the fourth state in the country and the second state this legislative session to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth after Utah passed a similar ban last month. Similar laws in Alabama and Arkansas 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.