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MT House endorses bill banning gender transition surgeries for minors

Montana House Chamber
Posted at 9:04 AM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 11:05:37-05

HELENA — The Montana House has endorsed a new bill that prohibits gender transition surgeries for transgender youth.

House Bill 427, sponsored by Republican Rep. John Fuller of Whitefish, passed 59-to-40 Wednesday in a preliminary vote on the House floor.

The bill is a slightly narrowed version of House Bill 113, also introduced by Fuller. That bill failed on the House floor last month.

HB 113 would have blocked a wider range of care for gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy. HB 427 only applies to surgeries.

Supporters said the intent was to ensure children didn’t receive procedures with permanent effects.

“These children need care, counseling, compassion and guidance, but irreversible medical procedures is not what they need at this time,” Fuller said.

Opponents said the restrictions would still have unintended consequences, and that the bill remained an unnecessary obstacle for transgender youth seeking care.

“We don’t need a law on the books that opens up serious equal protection concerns,” said Rep. Andrea Olsen, a Democrat from Missoula. “We don’t need a law on the books that will make life more difficult for young trans people.”

HB 113 passed its initial vote in the House 53-47, but it failed 49-51 on the final vote the next day. 11 Republicans who voted “no” then switched to voting “yes” on HB 427.

One of those was Rep. Wendy McKamey of Ulm, who said she saw this version as less of an interference with parents’ rights.

“The parental prerogative still exists,” she said. “We’re not going to be inhibited with our interactions as egregiously as the previous bill was.”

HB 427 must still pass its own final vote in the House tomorrow before it is transmitted to the Senate.