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Advocates Protest Morrison Bill That Would Punish Doctors For Trans Youth Health Care

Equality Illinois
Dana Garber, who works with trans youth for Planned Parenthood, talks about her opposition to a bill that would punish doctors for performing surgery or prescribing hormone -blocking drug to minors.

LGBTQ activists are speaking out about  proposed legislation that would punish medical  professionals who treat transgender youth.  

Under Republican sponsor Tom Morrison’s (R-Palatine) plan, medical professionals performing sex-change surgeries or prescribing certain hormones could have their licenses suspended or revoked.

Advocates pointed to Morrison’s history of proposing legislation hurtful to transgender youth, including an unsuccessful measure that would have required transgender students use the bathroom or locker room corresponding to their gender at birth.

Transgender woman Dana Garber, who works with transgender youth at Planned Parenthood, said,  “This bill is reprehensible. I mean, we just keep getting attacked  -- one thing right after another. It's an insult to the trans community, to transgender children, their parents and to health care professionals -- more legislation based on personal objections and beliefs and junk science.”

Morrison said, in response to the charge that his bill is discriminatory,  “The General Assembly on a on a host of issues as made the determination that young people are not old enough to make these sorts of permanent, life-altering decisions. He said teens are not old enough to make the decision on whether to become “permanently sterile.”

One of the reasons Morrison said that he proposed the bill was his concern that the drugs given to youth are potentially harmful. “We don't have the studies that show what the effects are on children, and then, in the case of so with the case of these drugs that are being administered, there are permanent effects, permanent, irreversible effect that I'm concerned about. And then of course, with surgery that’s permanent and irreversible.”

But Garber said,  “Denying puberty blockers will force trans and gender non-conforming youth to enter a puberty that doesn't match their identity, which in turn will deny them the chance to become adults who are less detectable as transgender  That's putting them at an increased risk for violence against them.”

The bill is expected to go before the informed consent committee, which is led by Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago, who has advocated against Morrison’s proposals on transgender youth.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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