POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Sen. Lee proposes bill blocking funding research for transgender medicine for minors

Oct 6, 2023, 5:00 PM

Image of Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Mike Lee has introduced the SCREEN Act to protect children from online...

Utah Sen. Mike Lee is proposing the SCREEN Act to protect children from online pornography. (Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is proposing a bill that would block federal money from going to research on transgender medicine for minors.

The Senator called research on transgender medicine for minors “irresponsible” and said it can result in permanent damage for minors, the Deseret News reported.

Equality Utah, an LGBTQ civil rights advocacy organization, said they question the logic behind Lee’s statement. Transgender Advisory Council member Sue Robbins said it doesn’t hold up.

“When we had cancer treatments come out, we studied them while we did it,” Robbins said. “We didn’t ban it legally because we weren’t sure if it would work.”

Additionally, Robbins said this bumps against a frequent complaint about transgender medical procedures.

“My question to the party that keeps saying there’s not good enough studies [is] if you’re going to start banning the funding at any level, what are you afraid of learning,” she said.

Robbins said she views Lee’s proposal as part of a larger strategy.

“So we say, ‘let’s do more studies … we’re all about studies,’ and now we have a bill that’s trying to take away funding from studies,” she said. “So every time we have a path to prove that this healthcare is good, there’s a counteraction to try and take away that path.”

Lee ran the same bill in 2021, but it failed to get a floor vote.

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.

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Sen. Lee proposes bill blocking funding research for transgender medicine for minors