Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill on February 28 that will prevent patients under the age of 18 from seeking “gender transitioning” treatments. The legislation includes restrictions on gender-altering surgeries and prescriptions of puberty blocking hormones to minors.
Called the Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures (REAP) Act, the bill restricts minors from receiving any level of gender altering treatments. While REAP leaves room for treatment to be given to children born with sex development disorders and those born with both ovarian and testicular tissues, those born with healthy sexual organs may not seek to change their gender. The law also extends to cosmetic surgery to change a minor’s voice or appearance.
According to the Hill, healthcare providers who break the new law will be stripped of their medical licenses. Furthermore, REAP leaves the doors wide open for patients to sue healthcare providers who prescribe and perform such treatments for a period of 30 years afterward. In these cases, plaintiffs will be able to bring a suit to any medical professional involved in a gender altering procedure.
Governor Reeves commented at the bill’s signing:
“There is a dangerous movement spreading across America today. It’s advancing under the guise of a false ideology and pseudo-science is being pushed on to our children through radical activists, social media, and online influencers.” The governor added, “This dangerous movement attempts to convince these children that they’re just a surgery away from happiness. It threatens our children’s innocence, and it threatens their health.”
NBC notes that the signing of the bill makes Mississippi the seventh state to implement restrictions on gender transitioning treatment for minors; some 22 other states have such legislation under consideration. In the last two years Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah have passed similar laws.
In an interview with CNA, Matt Sharp, senior counsel and director of the Center for Legislative Advocacy at Alliance Defending Freedom, hailed the move from Mississippi lawmakers. He said:
“We are grateful that the Mississippi Legislature recognized that children must be protected from harmful, irreversible, and unnecessary pharmaceutical interventions and surgical procedures,” Sharp told CNA. “Mississippi should be commended for doing what all states should do: implementing policy that prioritizes counseling and psychotherapy for children experiencing distress over their biological sex and that stops the injection of political agendas into the health care system.”