Montana Public Radio

Lawmakers Advance Revised Bill Restricting Trans Health Care

Feb 22, 2021

Montana lawmakers have revived and advanced a policy that would restrict doctors from providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth.

The first version of the proposed policy, House Bill 113, also made it out of the House Judiciary Committee before being voted down by a narrow margin in the House. 

On a party line vote Monday, the judiciary committee advanced the second iteration, House Bill 427. It would levy heavy penalties against health care professionals who perform gender-affirming surgeries on trans minors, or refer trans patients out-of-state for care. 

The new bill leaves out restrictions on hormone therapy that were included in the first bill. 

Republican Rep. John Fuller is the bill’s sponsor.

Rep. John Fuller, R-Whitefish, opens a hearing on House Bill 112 during a Montana House Judiciary Committee Meeting Jan. 18, 2021. Fuller sponsored HB 112, which seeks to ban transgender women from competing in high school and college women’s sports.
Credit Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

"Children should be free from either parental, peer or cultural pressure to deal with their gender confusion by starting down a one-way road to lifelong medical intervention."

Medical experts who testified in opposition say trans youth aren’t generally prescribed surgery or permanent medical procedures, they are prescribed hormone blockers, which are not permanent. 

Erin Grantham, a pediatric urologist with Billings Clinic, said the legislation is so broad that it would also restrict care for intersex youth. She urged the committee to let doctors use best practice to care for patients. 

"Trying to legislate medical care in an area as complicated as this can be a little bit dangerous."

House Bill 427 will move onto the House floor for consideration next.