Bill regarding transgender healthcare fails to pass committee

People march in a pride parade in Salt Lake City on June 8, 2014. HB92 would have prevented gender confirmation treatments on minors under the age of sixteen in Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A bill that would have made amendments to Utah’s current laws surrounding the healthcare of transgender youth failed to pass a Utah House committee.

HB92 is sponsored by Rep. Rex Shipp, R. Cedar City, and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo. The bill would outlaw certain medical procedures on teenagers 16 and younger. The bill states outright in its text that it is “unprofessional conduct to perform a medically unnecessary puberty inhibition procedure or a sex characteristic-altering procedure on a minor.”

The bill was hotly debated by constituents, who sent in emails with their opinions on both sides of the issue. Shipp said the bill was ultimately created to protect children. He went on to say that puberty blockers and other means of medical treatment are harmful with irreversible effects.

Shipp brought in a member of the American College of Pediatrics to discuss why such healthcare policies would harm youth. The American College of Pediatrics is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of anti-LGBT policies.

Many transgender activists in Utah heavily disagreed with the bill and what it would mean for transgender youth across the state. Equality Utah released a blog post and accompanying video celebrating the bill’s failure to move forward. “This bill would have prohibited doctors from treating transgender children with evidence-based care,” the statement says.

Troy Williams, executive director of equality Utah, also posted a video statement expressing support of the bill’s defeat. “This is a great victory for transgender children in the state.”

Gov. Spencer Cox also gave his own opinion about the bill, saying that the bill had “many flaws”. He said he hopes that with editing the bill could return and be more acceptable to the LGBT community.

The bill ultimately failed in a 10-3 committee vote, sending the bill back to the rules committee. As many activists celebrate, others hope that progress on this issue will still be able to move forward in the future.

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