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South Dakota Bill Threatens Doctors with Prison for Helping Transgender Youth

The South Dakota Legislature is moving quickly to consider one of the most extreme and dangerous bills in the country targeting transgender youth.

HB 1057, which is scheduled for a hearing on Friday, Jan. 17, would make it a felony to provide necessary medical treatment to transgender minors. The bill ignores accepted medical standards and guidelines endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

“Doctors and other medical professionals, not politicians, should decide the appropriate medical care for transgender youth,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of The National Center for Transgender Equality. “This is one of the most extreme and dangerous pieces of legislation in the country and threatens doctors with prison simply for providing necessary health care.”

The proposal would criminalize medical care. The government could arrest and imprison doctors for up to 10 years for following best practices and providing care to transgender youth.

As South Dakota is rushing to pass this legislation, a coordinated political attack against transgender people is being pushed nationally. Bills targeting medical providers who care for transgender youth have also already been introduced in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and South Carolina.

“The entire country must recognize what’s happening in South Dakota and around the country,” Keisling said. “The health and well-being of transgender youth are being put at risk by these extreme and dangerous proposals.”

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