A group of state legislators in South Dakota want to make it a crime to perform sex change surgeries on children.
The bill — which was introduced in the state legislature on Tuesday – would make it a Class 4 felony to perform a list of procedures on minors "for the purpose of attempting to change or affirm the minor's perception of the minor's sex, if that perception is inconsistent with the minor's sex." Those procedures include surgeries like castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, and mastectomy as well as the administration of puberty blocking drugs or the removal of "any otherwise healthy or nondiseased body part or tissue."
However, the restrictions do not apply "to the good faith medical decision of a parent or guardian of a minor born with a medically-verifiable genetic disorder of sex development."
Republican state Rep. Fred Deutsch is the sponsor of the bill, and he said that he put it forward in an effort to protect children from undergoing dangerous procedures.
"Every child in South Dakota should be protected from dangerous drugs and procedures," Deutsch told National Review in an emailed statement.
"The solution for children's identification with the opposite sex isn't to poison their bodies with mega-doses of the wrong hormones, to chemically or surgically castrate and sterilize them, or to remove healthy breasts and reproductive organs," he added. "The solution is compassionate care, and that doesn't include catastrophically and irreversibly altering their bodies."
Deutsch's bill currently boasts over 40 cosponsors from both chambers of the state legislature.
However, as the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports, the effort has already drawn resistance from Democratic lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Every year, South Dakota lawmakers zero in on transgender youth and every year the transgender community is hurt while meaningful problems go unaddressed," South Dakota policy director Libby Skarin said in the newspaper's story. "The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer."
Democratic House Minority Leader Jamie Smith said that the bill is "frustrating" and "not necessary" in the Argus Leader's story.
The heated custody battle involving 7-year-old James Younger's potential gender transition in Texas last year brought the question of children undergoing sex change procedures into the national spotlight. In that case, the child's mother said he identified as a girl and wanted him to transition against his father's wishes. Since then, legislators in multiple other states such as South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, have gotten behind efforts to prevent gender transition procedures from being conducted on minors.