A new proposed bill, if passed into law, would make it illegal for physicians to perform medical procedures aimed at transitioning children from one gender to another in the state of Tennessee.
This would include prescribing puberty blockers and performing surgeries.
If the bill becomes law, it would make it illegal for medical professionals to perform gender-related surgeries, prescribe puberty blockers, or cross-sex hormones to minors for the purpose of medical transition. The bill would also allow patients and their families to sue for damages and the courts to impose an additional $25,000 penalty for each violation of the law.
The legislative process for SB 0001 still has several steps to go through, including being reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and then cleared by other committees and the House and Senate chambers before it reaches the desk of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for final approval or veto.
Chloe Cole, an 18-year-old detransitioner from California, who had a double mastectomy surgery to remove her breasts at 15 said the following. “From the very beginning, the doctors were negligent, they treated me as if I were an adult who was capable of making informed lifelong decisions that would affect every area of my life — from socialization and relationships to sexual function and my ability to have children.”
Jack Johnson, a Tennessee majority leader, said “The bill would clarify that performing these medical procedures can constitute abuse,” Johnson continued. “The bill would treat these procedures as our law treats other attempts to wound, injure or disable a child.”
In October, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) temporarily suspended all pediatric gender transition surgeries after receiving a letter from Tennessee State representatives requesting a halt to these procedures. According to VUMC, they had been performing “gender-affirming” double mastectomy surgeries on around five minors annually since 2018.
Tennessee Majority Leader William Lamberth also added, “Interfering or destroying the healthy, normal reproductive organs of a child for the purpose of altering their appearance is profoundly unethical and morally wrong,” Lamberth continued. “Tennesseans across our state have demanded an immediate call to action.”
“Through the passage of House Bill 1/Senate Bill 1, Tennessee will protect vulnerable children who cannot give informed consent for adult decisions they aren’t ready for,” he cited.
The Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act in Tennessee would also provide legal recourse for minors or their parents who have been harmed as a result of medical transition procedures. The act would allow for a private right of action, allowing minors or their parents to sue for damages. In addition, minors would be able to bring a civil lawsuit against their parents if they were involved in facilitating their child’s medical transition.
The proposed bill would impose a $25,000 fine per violation and would allow the state attorney general to take legal action against healthcare providers who knowingly violate the law within 20 years of the offense. The state attorney general would also be required to establish a process for reporting violations of the law.
However, the act makes an exception for children who are born with chromosomal anomalies or congenital defects that result in developmental sex conditions and require hormone treatment or surgery.