Norman Woods of the Family Heritage Alliance of South Dakota tells AFN the "Help, Not Harm" bill (House Bill 1080) was a shoo-in in his state, where more people are aware that most children who struggle with their sexual identities grow out of it in their teens.
"It flew through the legislature on great votes," Woods reports. "On the House side, it was 60-10, and on the Senate side, it was 30-4."
Governor Kristi Noem (R) then signed it into law, which means doctors in the state can no longer chemically castrate a child or surgically mutilate a minor's body because of a mental issue, gender dysphoria.
Critics claim Noem is barring transgender children from transitioning, but others say the governor is in the right.
"We're talking about surgeries, hormones, and puberty blockers that are often being pushed on kids that have questions and confusion about their gender, but that are ultimately doing irreparable harm and damage to these kids," says Matt Sharp, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). "So we were so encouraged to see South Dakota take steps to protect children from these harmful procedures."
The Mount Rushmore State was the first to introduce a bill like this in 2020. At the time, it was defeated, but Woods says things are different now. He is not surprised that his state is so far the seventh to outlaw the medical practice of violating confused minors.
"People have watched as a male swimmer takes female spots. They've heard Chloe Cole's story, as she explains that she will never be able to breastfeed and maybe won't be able to have kids," he notes. "People have seen this now, and culturally, we understand more of what's going on."
Alabama and Arkansas have passed similar laws, and both of those states are currently in litigation. ADF is helping defend Alabama's measure, ensuring that the children of the state "aren't subject to these harmful procedures."
Sharp says ADF also wants to protect the "integrity of the medical profession."
"We're hearing more and more stories of doctors even being coerced and pressured into harming children doing these irreversible surgeries and damaging hormones," the attorny relays. But with stories like that of Jaime Reed, the whistleblower from Missouri who is speaking out about what she witnessed at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital, Sharp says, "It's more important than ever for states to take action to protect children."
He also points out that every state has laws that prevent minors from doing things like buying alcohol, driving a vehicle, or getting tattoos. And considering that the vast majority of those who attempt the physical impossibility of transitioning genders go on to regret it, this protective law is no different.
"They recognize children don't have the full capacity or understanding to comprehend the lifelong consequences of some of these decisions," the attorney concludes.