Legislation that prohibits minors from undergoing irreversible and harmful medical procedures for the purpose of changing their gender identity now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature following a 77-16 vote in the House chamber on Thursday.
Tennessee now provides the nation’s strongest protections against the removal of a child’s healthy body parts. House Bill 1, sponsored by House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, bans medical interference that alters a child’s hormonal balance and procedures that remove body parts to enable the minor to identify as a gender different from their biological sex. The Senate version passed on Feb. 13.
“These treatments and procedures have a lifetime of negative consequences that are irreversible,” said Lamberth on the House floor. “When you start cutting off body parts of a child and you’re telling them something is wrong with their body when they already think that, it is dangerous and destructive….What those children need is love and support, mental health treatment, and time.”
Any health care provider who violates the law can be sued in civil court by the minor injured, the parent of the minor injured or the Attorney General within 30 years of the violation. Providers found to be in violation could face up to a $25,000 penalty per violation and have their medical license restricted.
The legislation ensures that doctors can still prescribe hormone treatment to minors for medically necessary purposes and makes exceptions for children born with chromosomal anomalies or congenital defects. House Bill 1 now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. It becomes effective July 1.