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Michigan bill to prosecute Trans-affirming parents for child abuse

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MI State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) — Photo courtesy of Michigan House Republicans
MI State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) — Photo courtesy of Michigan House Republicans

A bill introduced in the Michigan state legislature would allow the state to prosecute Transgender-affirming parents and doctors for child abuse. The penalties could be up to life in prison.

HB 6454 would amend the state penal code to make it a case of felony child abuse when someone "knowingly or intentionally consents to, obtains, or assists with a gender transition procedure for a child."

The bill includes any hormones or puberty blockers in its definition of "gender-transition procedure." Puberty blockers are reversible medications that delay the onset of puberty so that Trans youth can have more time to explore their gender identities before the permanent effects of puberty occur.

While such treatments have been shown to decrease lifelong suicide risk for Trans people who want them, and to improve overall physical and mental health, Michigan Republicans claim that people should not be allowed to transition until they are old enough to have sex.

"People are abusing these children," Republican Rep. Beau LaFave, one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill, told The Hill.

"The idea that we would be making potentially life-altering changes to 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kids, when it is illegal for them to have sex, is insane. I mean, they're not responsible enough to smoke a cigarette until they're 21."

"Gender-affirming care is medically necessary and life-saving care for Transgender youth," Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott replied. "Medical decisions belong to Trans youth, their parents, and their doctors."

If the bill passes, Michigan will become the second state to make gender-affirming care a felony. A similar Alabama law went into effect in May, although a judge has blocked part of it from taking effect.

Republicans in many states are pushing legislation that would bar youth from receiving gender-affirming care, even though multiple studies show that Transgender youth experience high rates of self-harm, and that access to gender-affirming healthcare often leads to significant improvements in their mental health and quality of life.

In August, anti-LGBTQ Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced a bill at the federal level that would make providing gender-affirming care for Transgender minors a class C felony, ban federal funds — including Medicaid funds — from being used for such care for Transgender people, ban medical schools from teaching about such care, stop health care plans under the Affordable Care Act from funding such care, and ban anyone found to have performed gender-affirming care from immigrating to the US.