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South Dakota Bans Child Sex Changes

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed legislation Monday banning both surgical and nonsurgical sex change procedures for minors.

The “Help Not Harm” bill bars health care providers from prescribing minors puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones or performing cross-sex surgeries on minors. Doctors found violating the law will have their medical licenses revoked. The move comes amid a broader push from red states to crack down on the procedures.

“South Dakota’s kids are our future. With this legislation, we are protecting kids from harmful, permanent medical procedures,” Noem said in a press release. “I will always stand up for the next generation of South Dakotans.”

Patients harmed by violations of the new law have three years, or until they turn 25, to seek civil damages; whichever date is later, according to the bill. The legislation takes effect July 1, and health care professionals may keep patients on cross-sex drug regimens through the end of the year if they determine it’s necessary to gradually wean them off the drugs for the sake of their health.

While cross-sex genital surgeries are rare for minors, numerous clinics and hospitals offer puberty blockers, hormones and mastectomies to minors as part of the gender transition process; the procedures are still legal at the federal level and in most states.

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