HEALTH

Legislative committee advances bill concerning gender-affirming surgeries

Oct 20, 2022, 3:30 PM | Updated: Oct 21, 2022, 8:03 am

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The Utah State Capitol is pictured on February 7, 2022 in Salt Lake City. (KSL NewsRadio)

(KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Health and Human Services Interim Committee has voted to advance a bill prohibiting minors diagnosed with gender dysmorphia from undergoing gender-affirming surgeries. Sen. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, proposed the bill. He said he does not want to stop gender-affirming surgeries but argues that those decisions should be made as adults.

“One of the components I think is important to recognize is that we are not forbidding these individuals from pursuing transgender care,” said Kennedy. “What we’re saying is that minors with the immutable change or permanent change associated with surgery, that they should not be allowed to do that until they’ve reached the age of maturity.”

Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-SaltLake, opposes the bill. She brought up the concern of the potential double-standard for parental rights in these situations, since, under this bill, doctors could potentially turn minors away from certain procedures, like breast augmentations, if they have had that kind of diagnosis, but not those who haven’t or are seeking the procedure for another purpose.

“The state was not in that clinic being part of that decision between the patient, the parents, and the doctor,” said Harrison. “And yet, in this identical procedure, you’re seeking to put the government in that clinic visit.”

Other opponents are concerned with the legal challenges that could come with the bill’s passage. Arizona, Arkansas, and Alabama have passed similar legislation. But only Arkansas has faced a legal challenge. 

Alejandro Lucero contributed to this report. 

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Legislative committee advances bill concerning gender-affirming surgeries