HELENA — Another bill to prohibit “gender transition” surgical procedures on Montanans under 18 was introduced Tuesday at the Legislature – just three weeks after the House voted down a similar bill.
House Democrats objected to the introduction of House Bill 427, saying it’s essentially the same measure that was rejected last month.
“We’re going to have the exact same hearing that lasted two hours, the exact same floor discussion that lasted at least a half-hour,” said Rep. Rob Farris-Olsen, D-Helena. “It just ends up being a big waste of time when we’ve already had the bill … It just doesn’t make sense, in the grand scheme of things, to rehear this bill again.”
But on a 13-7 party-line vote with Republicans in favor, the House Rules Committee on Tuesday afternoon chose to accept the bill’s introduction, allowing it to be assigned to committee for a hearing.
Republican members of the panel argued that the bill is different from the original measure, because it focuses primarily on surgery procedures, and doesn’t ban other treatments for transgender youth.
HB427 is sponsored by Rep. John Fuller, R-Whitefish, who also sponsored HB113, which had banned certain medical treatment and surgery for transgender youths wanting to transition to a gender different than their birth sex.
The House voted down HB113 on a 51-49 vote on Jan. 26 and then rejected an attempt a day later to revive the bill.
The new measure bans surgical gender-transition procedures for minors and prohibits the referral of minors to health-care providers for any such procedure in Montana.
Fuller has said that children should not be allowed to undergo sex-change procedures that could affect them for a lifetime, and instead wait until they are adults.
Opponents have argued that the bills unduly insert the law into private medical decisions, better made by individuals and families – and denounced the effort to bring another ban forward, after one has been defeated.