On Tuesday, Mississippi became the seventh state to ban sex reassignment procedures for minors after GOP Governor Tate Reeves signed the Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures, REAP, Act.
The GOP-controlled Mississippi legislature approved the bill in February 2021, and Gov. Reeves, who is running for re-election, said he would sign it into law. He signed a law prohibiting transgender athletes from competing in women’s and girls’ sports into law 2021.
“There is a dangerous movement spreading across America today,” said the governor at the bill signing ceremony. “It’s advancing under the guise of a false ideology and pseudoscience being pushed onto our children through radical activists, social media, and online influencers. And it’s trying to convince our children that they are in the wrong body. I stand before you today to sign legislation that puts a stop to this Mississippi and protects our kids.”
The law took effect the next day. It prohibits medical professionals from performing sex reassignment surgery, also called confirming or gender-affirming care, and from prescribing hormone replacements or puberty blockers to anyone under 18 in the state.
The legislation prevents tax deductions and public funds from being claimed by organizations that empower the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure to strip medical professionals of their licenses for violating the law, prohibits gender transition procedures, and blocks Medicaid funding from covering minors’ transgender care.
Conservatives continue to push for greater oversight and restrictions on transgender care
The action in Mississippi comes as social conservatives have pressed for more significant restrictions and oversight on transgender care for minors. Lawmakers in South Dakota and Utah have placed similar bans on “gender transition procedures” for children this year.
Other states that have restricted or banned surgical care for transgender youth include Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Other states that have limited or banned surgical care for transgender youth include Arkansas, which is also considering similar legislation, according to the Movement Advancement Project.
Some medical professionals and transgender activists call the laws discriminatory and say politicians prohibit medical best practices for gender dysphoric youth.
Significant medical groups, including the American Medical Association, warned that restrictions on gender-affirming care could harm the mental health of trans youth at a greater risk of suicide.
“This law shuts the door on medical best practice and puts politics between parents, their children, and their doctors,” said the American Civil Liberties Union in a statement.
“This life-saving care was already difficult to access for trans youth across the state and is now entirely out of reach,” added the ACLU.
“At the end of the day, there are two positions here,” said Reeves Tuesday. “One tells children that they’re beautiful the way they are. That they can find happiness in their own bodies. The other tells them that they should take drugs and cut themselves up with expensive surgeries in order to find freedom from depression.”
“I know which side I’m on,” added the governor. “No child in Mississippi will have these drugs or surgeries pushed upon them.”