Gov. Spencer Cox (R-Utah) signed legislation Saturday banning "gender-affirming" health care for minors, making Utah the first state in 2023 to do so.
"Legislation that impacts our most vulnerable youth requires careful consideration and deliberation. ... More and more experts, states and countries around the world are pausing these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences," Cox tweeted Saturday.
"We sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures," Cox added.
The newly signed legislation, S.B. 16, will become effective on May 3, 2023. It will prospectively prohibit minors with gender dysphoria from being subjected to body-mutilating surgeries and other medical interventions. The bill will "place an indefinite moratorium on their access to puberty blockers and hormone therapy," NBC reported.
"Playing with trucks and rough-housing with friends does not make your daughter a boy. It just makes them unique; it makes them creative. It does not require corrective action in the form of sterilization," 18-year-old Chloe Cole said in her testimony on Utah's related H.B. 132.
California-based Cole, a biological female, describes herself as a "former trans kid" who had puberty blockers at 13 and a double mastectomy at 15. Cole is now de-transitioning.
Activists in favor of subjecting children to these physiologically and psychologically damaging procedures, some of which involve chemical and/or physical castration, expressed discontent with the decision.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall offered an apology to Utah's gender-dysphoric youth. "This is wrong and it isn't fair. I'm sorry this is happening to you. You are loved. I stand with you," the 42-year-old Democrat tweeted Friday.
Echoing Mendenhall, Dr. Jack Turban decried Utah legislators' decision, suggesting they had overstepped their bounds by countering assorted health organizations' stance on the matter. The membership of these organizations, notably, stand to benefit financially from the ongoing care children subjected to these procedures will require.
Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the bill "brutally unfair" and says it will face a legal challenge. "We are preparing a challenge," Minter told Law Dork, adding that the ACLU of Utah and NCLR will file a lawsuit "as soon as we can."