Arizona Has Ended Gender Reassignment Surgery On Children

The Arizona House approved legislation that seeks to ban children from gender reassignment surgery along with a ban on transgender athletes.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

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gender reassignment

Last week, the Arizona House voted to prohibit gender reassignment surgery for minors in what many critics say is an attempt to restrict transgender rights. The passage of this legislation makes Arizona one of 20 states that have considered passing laws that would deny gender-affirming surgery for minors. The original bill, as written, would have banned all types of gender-affirming healthcare but after much debate, the bill was rewritten to restrict only irreversible procedures such as gender reassignment surgeries.

Along with banning gender reassignment surgery for minors, the House also voted to ban transgender athletes from playing on girls’ sports teams. Arizona is now a part of a large list of Republican-controlled states that are writing laws to limit transgender rights. Proponents of the bill claim they are protecting the integrity of women’s sports. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has not said if he will sign the bills into law or veto them.

Those who are solidly behind the banning of gender reassignment say that the bill will prevent children from making a permanent decision that they could possibly regret in the future. The vote to pass this legislation compares, according to Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, to state legislation passed years ago that banned genital mutilation. “We should stand the same way today because this is mutilation of children,” Kavanagh said via NPR. “It is irreversible. It is horrific.”

gender reassignment

Those who are against the potential banning of gender reassignment in minors say that the ultimate decision should rest with parents, their children, and the healthcare personnel involved with the situation. Critics point out that before any surgery is performed, the child goes through extensive care and therapy. “We’re talking about our kids, who are already going to be taking the proper steps with their parents to be able to be who they are,” said Democratic Rep. Andres Cano to NewsMax.

Arizona is not the only state who has been dealing with legislation surrounding gender reassignment surgery for minors. The Idaho House recently passed legislation that would have not only approved the banning of surgeries but also would have banned gender-affirming health care such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers for minors. The Idaho Senate had differing opinions on the matter.

While the Senate agreed that they strongly oppose gender reassignment surgery for minors, they also feel that if the bill were to be passed it would undermine the rights of parents and would allow the government to interfere in these matters. In their statement to AP News, the Idaho Senate said, “We believe in parents’ rights and that the best decisions regarding medical treatment options for children are made by parents, with the benefit of their physician’s advice and expertise.”

Gender reassignment wasn’t the only issue tackled by the Arizona House. They also went after transgender athletes, who proponents of the bill claim that trans athletes have an advantage over women, pointing to Lia Thomas, the trans athlete who won an individual swimming title during last week’s NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championship. “This bill to me is all about biology,” said Republican Rep. Shawnna Bolick. “In my opinion, it’s unfair to allow biological males to compete with biological girls’ sports.”

gender reassignment

Critics of the bill claim issues are being made where there aren’t any. They claim that the bill dehumanizes trans youth. “This bill is creating a pointless and harmful solution to a non-existent issue,” says Skyler Morrison. She told lawmakers earlier in the month during a committee meeting. Morrison is a 13-year-old transgender girl. “It’s obvious this bill is just an excuse to discriminate against transgender girls.” Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler also opposes the bill saying, while fighting back her tears, “We’re talking about legislating bullying against children who are already struggling just to get by.”

After the banning of gender reassignment surgery for minors was passed along to Gov. Ducey, the state’s top education official is imploring him not to sign the bills. Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, who is a Democrat, claimed it was nothing more than “bigoted government overreach.” In her message to Gov. Ducey, Hoffman tweeted, “#SB1138 and #SB1165 are nothing more than bigoted government overreach directed at trans kids and their families.” Gov. Ducey nor his office responded to Hoffman, so now all eyes are on Gov. Ducey and his mighty pen.