It’s an election year, and last night’s debate over banning sex change surgeries for minors in South Carolina was certainly the bipartisan sound byte factory political leaders were looking for.
How much of the oratorical brawl over H.4624 was theatrics, and how much was constructive legislative debate? We’ll let you be the judge.
Before we get to the serious scrapes, the debate began with some strange comments from House minority leader Todd Rutherford.
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Some of Rutherford’s Democratic colleagues had more substantive arguments to make in opposition of the legislation.
Representatives Justin Bamberg and Marvin Pendarvis specifically addressed the tension between small government conservatism and legislation which would limit medical providers’ ability to practice medicine as they see fit.
Yet, as I wrote in an extensive opinion piece on this issue in July 2023, the cross-sex hormones used in gender transitions are undeniably dangerous.
“Male patients taking estrogen increase the risk of developing blood clots in deep veins (and in the lungs), heart issues, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, weight gain, nipple discharge and stroke,” I noted in that article. “Female patients taking testosterone increase their risk of high cholesterol (and the associated heart issues), high blood pressure, overproduction of red blood cells, type two diabetes, as well as pelvic pain and clitoral discomfort. Also, both genders run the risk of obliterating their ability to reproduce even after the discontinuation of treatment.”
Adult men who “identify as muscular men” are already legally prohibited from taking steroids for a similar set of medical risks.
Small government advocates often argue that informed adults should be able to take such risks – and to pay doctors to help them take those risks – but our laws are replete with examples of how children lack the perspective to consent to these permanently life-altering decisions.
In addition to his remarks against the bill, Pendarvis also advocated for striking language which would prohibit state-funded gender transitions for adults – an amendment to the bill which ultimately failed.
A more vigorous debate erupted around amendments proposing the imposition of criminal penalties for physicians who preformed gender transitions on children in South Carolina.
Representative Jermaine Johnson argued against penalizing physicians who transition minors, positing they may not be able to afford the penalties outlined in an amendment submitted by representatives Josiah Magnuson and Jordan Pace.
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Republican lawmakers Micah Caskey and Gil Gatch argued Pace and Magnuson’s amendment – which proposed making transitioning a minor a misdemeanor carrying a $10,000 penalty – was legally unsound. Caskey argued South Carolina’s existing assault and battery statute could be used to penalize doctors who transition minors while Gatch argued the matter should have been raised at the subcommittee level.
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These arguments may have influenced a majority of the state’s Republican legislators to vote against the amendment, but then women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines took to X to express her disapproval. Gaines, the 2022 SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, rose to national fame after she refused to remain silent following her “defeat” at the hands of Lia Thomas.
Thomas, a male, was allowed by the NCAA to compete in its annual swimming championships, and predictably vanquished most female athletes (after a lackluster career competing against men).
Gaines pulled no punches after the incident saying “Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title. He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman.”
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But Gaines told Fox News the “worst” part of the experience was being forced to share a locker room with Thomas.
“We did not give our consent, they did not ask for our consent, but in that locker room, we turn around and there’s a 6’4″ biological man dropping his pants and watching us undress, and we’re exposed to male genitalia,” she said.
“Not even probably a year, two years ago, this would have been considered some form of sexual assault, voyeurism,” Gaines added. “But now not even are they just allowing it to happen, it’s almost as if these large organizations are encouraging it to happen.”
Gaines also didn’t mince words when expressing her disappointment with South Carolina legislators.
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Shortly after this tweet, Caskey introduced an amendment allowing physicians who facilitate the gender transition of minors to be charged with a felony.
Caskey told this news outlet his version of the criminalization amendment was necessary because the prior amendment could have prohibited prosecutors from seeking more serious criminal penalties (than the ones included in Magnusun’s amendment) adding “that’s crazy.”
Caskey’s amendment passed with broad Republican support.
Gaines took to X again saying “It’s CRAZY how often our leaders cave to fads, money, and/or pressure. 2 hrs after posting this & holding their feet to the fire with the help of @SCFreedomCaucus, those 63 Republicans did a 180 & voted to make child mutilation a felony – Don’t forget the power is the people’s!!!”
Gatch replied, telling Gaines “This just isn’t what happened. You’re parroting the freedom caucus narrative. They’re manipulating you because you don’t have the whole story.”
Regardless of who earned the Republican primary victory-lap, youth gender transition will now be considered by the S.C. Senate, where socially divisive legislation has traditionally had a more difficult time progressing.
RELATED | ‘GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE’ FOR MINORS
Senate bill S.243 has been referred to the medical affairs subcommittee, and has material differences from the legislation passed by the House, such as provisions clarifying that physicians may intervene to render aid to patients suffering from infection or other injuries caused by legally or illegally performed gender transition surgeries.
Catherine Gunsalus, director of state advocacy at Heritage Action released a statement (.pdf) calling on the S.C. senate to “show the same courage (as the S.C. House) and vote to protect children in the state as soon as possible.”
I spoke with attorney Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow for the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, who said she is confident the legislation will survive any challenges it might face in federal court.
“Yes, parents have a long recognized right to parent their children as they see fit … But what the Supreme Court has never recognized is a particular right to acquire the experimental medical care that a parent has a preference for for their minor child.”
Her assessment is backed up by the 11th circuit court of appeal’s recent decision to lift a preliminary injunction on Alabama’s youth transition ban imposed at the by a district court judge.
Perry also cited 18-year-old Chloe Cole‘s lawsuit against healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente for performing what the suit calls a “mutilating sex change experiment” on her at the age of thirteen as another noteworthy transgender legal battleground.
Count on FITSNews to continue to provide coverage of this legislation as it makes it’s way to the governor’s desk.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
(Via: Travis Bell)
Dylan Nolan is the director of special projects at FITSNews. He graduated from the Darla Moore school of business in 2021 with an accounting degree. Got a tip or story idea for Dylan? Email him here. You can also engage him socially @DNolan2000.
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