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Tennessee introduces bill banning gender-affirming drugs and surgeries for minors


“This bill is about protecting children. Under no circumstances should minors be allowed to undergo irreversible elective procedures to mutilate body parts and intentionally harm their reproductive systems. This practice comes with lifelong health complications that children are not capable of understanding.”

–Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson

Lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced legislation that would ban medical professionals from providing any “gender-affirming treatment” on minors and would also allow minors to sue healthcare providers who defy the law and parents who consent to the treatments.

Quick Facts

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lamberth, both Republicans, introduced Senate Bill/House Bill 1, known as the Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act, on November 9. The bill prohibits medical and surgical gender transitions for minors.

The legislature’s findings say that “minors lack the maturity to fully understand and appreciate the life-altering consequences of such procedures and that many individuals have expressed regret for medical procedures that were performed on or administered to them for such purposes when they were minors.”

The bill’s prohibitions state specifically:

“A healthcare provider shall not perform or offer to perform on a minor, or administer or offer to administer to a minor, a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of:

(1) Enabling a minor to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex; or

(2) Treating purported discomfort or distress from a discordance between the minor’s sex and asserted identity.”

Johnson explained,

“This bill is about protecting children. Under no circumstances should minors be allowed to undergo irreversible elective procedures to mutilate body parts and intentionally harm their reproductive systems. This practice comes with lifelong health complications that children are not capable of understanding.”

Lamberth 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. 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.”

The bill would allow a minor or their parent to bring a civil cause of action against a healthcare provider who provides gender-affirming treatment to the minor. The aggrieved minor may also bring a civil action against their parents if the parents consented to the treatment. A suit must be filed within 30 years of the minor turning 18.

Motivating the bill were videos released by conservative commentator Matt Walsh that showed that Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) was performing gender transition surgeries on minors. The videos showed one doctor saying that transgender surgeries “are huge money makers,” something the legislators specifically mentioned in the bill.

Soon after seeing the videos, Johnson began working on the legislation. “I thought it was important that we take the opportunity to get something filed as soon as possible. We love these kids. We want them to get the care that they need. What we don’t want to do though is to do irreparable damage to their bodies that can’t be undone. That’s a decision that should be left to someone who is an adult,” the state senator stated.

Johnson and Lamberth constructed the legislation with help from Walsh, according to Nashville’s WTVF. “Obviously, there were intentions to do more of these kind of procedures moving forward, so I think our timing is right to just go ahead and make it a state policy that these procedures will not be allowed,” Johnson said.

Nashville Representative John Ray Clemmons painted the transitioning of children as a non-issue, despite the released videos. “This is bill number one for the most powerful people in the state of Tennessee?” he asked. “They’re trying to score political points on something that doesn’t affect 99.99% of Tennessee families. They think they can score political points on it and try to position themselves to win a Republican primary in a couple of years, but that’s not our job.”

Clemmons added, “We’ll talk to the people, if any are actually affected by this. It obviously takes aim at health care providers yet again. So we’ll talk to actual people who practice medicine in the state of Tennessee and get their feedback. And we’ll make a decision on where to go and how to approach it from there.”

In response to the new bill, Matt Walsh noted that the effort to protect children is just beginning. He tweeted:

“In Tennessee, we’re not only banning child gender transitions but there’s also a bill just introduced to prosecute anyone who hosts or participates in a drag show where children are in attendance or might see it. We’re playing offense here.”

Remember when the left and the media insisted that gender transition surgeries weren’t being done on minors? Newly released research, reports, and videos of doctors promoting their gender-transition programs for children now show otherwise. Or how they continue to claim that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are safe and reversible? New scientific studies and testimony by detransitioners is starting to provide proof that this too is not true.

Another thing we know is that the medical community doesn’t promote gender transitions because they have children’s best interest at heart. They do it because these treatments are “huge moneymakers” that turn children into “patients” for life.

The same pharmaceutical companies who gave Americans the opioid crisis are the same types of companies shelling out experimental treatments costing tens of thousands of dollars, the full effects of which we haven’t even begun to understand. Yet Big Pharma and the medical community continue to push these drugs and surgeries on minors — and manipulate and intimidate their parents into providing consent.

Progressive countries like Sweden, Finland, France, and the U.K. have all paused such treatments because they became concerned with what they were seeing. The American medical community, having lost sight of medical ethics and spurred by greed and woke ideology, is pressing on to the detriment of vulnerable children.

Governments and medical boards must step up to protect those who are at risk of real and lifelong harm. God’s Word commands us to protect the oppressed (Proverbs 31:8-9). These children, at an age when they are most vulnerable to social pressure, are being manipulated by schools, teachers, their peers, and even the federal government into rejecting themselves and taking on a false identity.

The Tennessee legislature acted because Matt Walsh investigated his own hometown hospital and exposed the reality of the transgender program there. He did so despite receiving death threats and being slandered. Christians must also show courage and step up to protect children by lobbying lawmakers, making their voices heard at school board meetings, and speaking the truth against the horrors of child mutilation.

We know from Genesis 5:2 that God created people “male and female”; from Psalm 139 that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made”; and from Matthew 10:29 that God knows and cares deeply for His creation.

Each child is unique, and they should be encouraged to accept who God created them to be and live the life that God has planned for them — not encouraged to reject their true identity and to irreparably harm themselves.

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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