As expected, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed a bill that prohibits gender-affirming medical care for transgender people under the age of 18.
The bill bans the prescription of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones. and gender-affirming surgery for minors.
Supporters say the measure protects young people from making medical decisions that could harm them for the rest of their lives.
It was opposed by health care providers, legal advocates. and transgender youth who call the bill government overreach into healthcare decisions and complain it infringes on the civil rights of patients.
They also argued that the banned treatments help young people psychologically and reduce the risk of suicide among minor young people.
In a related development, a transgender advocacy group has sued Noem and the head of the state Dept of Health over termination of a state contract with the group last December.
The Transformation Project alleges the termination, which resulted in the group losing a nearly $136,000 federal grant, was discrimination.
Noem spokesman Ian Fury says the contract had been signed without Noem’s knowledge or consent, and that the Transformation Project did not meet all of the terms of its contract, such as providing quarterly reports.
Transformation director Susan Williams said in a text message to the Associated Press that the loss of the grant was “uncalled for and was, in fact, discrimination.”
Williams added “We believe that our contract was not broken and that the State’s claims against us are unfounded.”