POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

Jan 27, 2023, 1:08 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2023, 1:02 pm

A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...

Voting is completed on SB16 transgender bill in the Senate at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors — passed in the Utah House Thursday after last-minute changes. Those changes sent the bill back to the Senate, which passed the bill Friday.

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries and places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors. Gender-affirming surgeries are medical treatments that transgender and nonbinary people sometimes use to transition or alter their physical characteristics.

The changes to this bill included that the bill will be immediately implemented after the governor’s signature. In addition, doctors can be held accountable for litigation, meaning if a person regretted the transgender-related surgeries or treatment they received later in life, they will have an easier path to sue the doctor responsible for the treatment.

Bill sponsor Sen. Mike Kennedy said he tried to do this bill justice…but the House had its way with it.

“I would bet every dollar in my bank account right now that this will be litigated. And at this point, it is going to be,” Kennedy said. “And we’ll have to allow additional steps in our societal process to make the terminations to where this will go.”

The Utah Senate Democrats issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s decision:

“Without question, we remain opposed to S.B. 16, especially with the addition of an immediate effective date and the serious consent and liability concerns that impact our health care providers. The devastating weight of this bill is felt by our trans children, our families, and our medical providers. As legislators, it is our responsibility to develop answers to these difficult questions, and the Senate Democrats are committed to continue working in this space toward compassionate, data-driven public policy. Additionally, we will always challenge these types of negative proposals and will work to mitigate consequences. To the families and children impacted today—we see you, we love you, and we will continue to hear your stories and fight for you and your pursuit of happiness.”

A number of bills regarding transgender youth were up for debate in 2023 including SB100, which would prohibit school districts from changing the student’s identity as it relates to gender without parental permission, and  SB93 which would prohibit changing the name or gender on a minor’s birth certificate.

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Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox