Tennessee is the First State in the Country to Pass a Law That Stops Adults From Helping Minors Get Gender-affirming Care

Tennessee is the First State in the Country to Pass a Law That Stops Adults From Helping Minors Get Gender-affirming Care

Tuesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a law that makes it illegal for adults to help transgender kids get care that affirms their gender without their parents’ permission. This is the first law of its kind in the country.

The law, called House Bill 2310, says that anyone in Tennessee who helps a child get gender-affirming care can be sued by the child or the child’s parents for money. There are some exceptions, such as for parents or legal guardians of the child, people with permission from the child’s parents, and transportation companies like those that run ride-sharing apps, buses, or airlines that the child could use to get to a gender-affirming care clinic.

Someone who “recruits, harbors, or transports an unemancipated minor within this state for the purpose of receiving a prohibited medical procedure” would be charged with a Class C felony under an earlier version of the law.

When HuffPost asked Lee’s office for a response, they didn’t answer right away.

When Lee signed Senate Bill 1 into law in July of last year, it meant that Tennessee would no longer allow gender-affirming care for children. This includes hormone replacement therapy, puberty blockers, and, very rarely, surgery.

HuffPost talked to Bryan Davidson, policy director at the ACLU Tennessee. “I want to be clear that this in no way stops parents or legal guardians from helping their child get medical care that they need out of state.”

“I believe this is an effort by the government to scare and spread false information to parents and families in order to get them to self-censor and rule their own behavior.” And that’s the scary part.

Davidson said that Tennessee already has a rule against adults taking minors across state lines if that really was a big problem. That’s what it’s called, he said.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against S.B. 1, which would have banned gender-affirming care. The law was initially blocked for some residents, but in the fall, a federal appeals court said the ban should stay in place.

A lot of people are waiting to see if the Supreme Court will hear the ACLU’s challenge to S.B. 1, also known as L.W. v. Skrmetti, and decide who can make medical choices for minors who want gender-affirming care. If the high court does decide to hear the case against Tennessee’s ban, it could set a standard for other states that limit access to care.

Lee also signed a bill on Tuesday that makes it illegal to help a child get an abortion or drugs that cause abortions without the parents’ permission. This is called “abortion trafficking of a minor,” and it is a misdemeanor. Ever since Roe v. Wade was overturned two years ago, many states run by Republicans have passed laws like this one. Idaho is the most notable.

On July 1, the two new rules will be in place.

The Tennessee assembly, which is mostly made up of Republicans, has been a leader in passing new anti-LGBTQ laws for a long time. Lee has never vetoed an anti-LGBTQ bill as governor, and the state has passed more anti-LGBTQ laws than any other state in the country.

Lee passed at least eight new rules this year that are against LGBTQ+ people. This includes laws that make school administrators tell parents if their child wants to use a name or gender marker that is different from the one on their birth certificate; let people refuse to perform same-sex marriages; let foster families treat LGBTQ+ kids badly; and get rid of the state’s human rights commission.

Tennessee was the first state to ban drag shows all together last year. Shows were not allowed anywhere in public where kids could be present. A federal judge said that the ban was illegal, but Jonathan Skrmetti, the state’s attorney general, is trying to get the ban to cover private areas as well.

Last year, the state also got national attention when Skrmetti asked Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the records of transgender patients, both minors and adults, after a right-wing media figure in Nashville tweeted false and offensive information about how the hospital treats transgender children. After that, the Department of Health and Human Services began to look into Vanderbilt’s decision to share patient medical information.

“At the state level, Tennessee has become a way to test policies that attack LGBTQ+ people,” Davidson said. “The main reason for the anti-LGBTQ laws is to make the small group of extreme activists in Tennessee happy.”

Davidson also said that Tennessee has one of the lowest voter turnout rates and is one of the most “egregiously gerrymandered states in the nation.” This makes it easier for more extreme policies and rhetoric to take hold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *