Adults who undergo gender-transition procedures as children would be able to sue their doctors for up to 30 years after turning 18 under a bill introduced Wednesday by congressional Republicans.
Under the Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act, adults who had been treated with hormones, puberty blockers or surgeries would be able to seek injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages from medical practitioners.
Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, accused “radical doctors” of performing “dangerous, experimental, and even sterilizing gender-transition procedures on young kids.”
The measure clarifies “that federal law cannot be construed to force medical practitioners to offer such procedures,” and prohibits federal health funds from going to states “that force medical practitioners to perform gender-transition procedures.”
“Our bill allows children who grow up to regret these procedures to sue for damages. Any doctor who performs these irresponsible procedures on kids should pay,” said Mr. Cotton, the bill’s Senate sponsor.
The bill, which would put a 30-year statute of limitations on such lawsuits after majority, comes a week after President Biden signed an executive order directing the Health and Human Services Department to “work with states to promote expanded access to gender-affirming care.”
Four states have passed bills or enacted policies this year restricting gender-transition treatments for minors.
“Over 300 anti-LGBTQI+ laws have been introduced in state legislatures over the past year, and many of them specifically target transgender children and their parents by banning access to medical care and support at school,” according to a White House fact sheet supporting the executive order.
Also listed on the bill as sponsors are Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Steve Daines of Montana. Sponsoring the House companion bill is Rep. Jim Banks, Indiana Republican.
“The Biden administration released official guidance recommending irreversible and life-altering surgery for minors too young to apply for a learner’s permit,” Mr. Banks said. “These procedures lack any solid evidence and have been rejected by public health agencies around the world.”
Mr. Banks predicted that in 10 years, “there will be hundreds of thousands of Americans who were permanently scarred by the radical left’s agenda before they reached adulthood.”
The legislation covers gender-transition procedures including “puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical procedures that change an individual’s body in order to align with an identity at odds with an individual’s biological sex.”
The bill’s chance of becoming law while Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House is basically zero.
The LGBTQ group the Trevor Project argues that such treatment is life-saving because it “has been shown to reduce suicide ideation and attempts in transgender individuals.”
“Pubertal suppression may be used for youth currently in the early stages of puberty who are experiencing distress over their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity,” the Trevor Project said. “Delaying puberty can provide youth more time to explore their gender identity without the development of unwanted physiological changes and may also serve as a precursor to gender-affirming hormone therapy.”
Finland, Sweden and Britain have moved in recent years to roll back the use of gender-transition drugs to treat gender dysphoria in minors.