SC is protecting its children with ‘Help Not Harm’ Bill. More states should follow

By Sarah Parshall Perry

South Carolina legislation HB 4624 is called the “Help Not Harm” bill – and with good reason. Approved by the House in January, it bans so-called “gender affirming” medical interventions for minors under the age of 18 and prohibits Medicaid coverage of those procedures for anyone under the age of 26.

After passing a Senate subcommittee just days ago, the bill now heads to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee for a vote. Lawmakers there must show the courage of their colleagues in the House because the bill is precisely the kind of legislation that America’s children need — and need immediately.

In increasing measure, vulnerable pubescent and pre-pubescent children are being proselytized into a fictional belief that they can be “born in the wrong body.” In fact, so effective have been the influences of social media, peer pressure and pro-trans narratives in this space that UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute reports that more than 300,000 high school-aged (ages 13-17) children in the United States today identify as “transgender” — making them the largest and fastest-growing share of the overall trans-identified population in the country.

Between 2017 and 2021, the number of children in the United States taking puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones doubled. And double mastectomies performed on adolescent girls increased by nearly 400 percent during the same period.

These increases aren’t organic. They are a direct result of what appears to be a national social experiment targeting children who are not old enough to vote, get tattoos, buy cigarettes or enter into contracts. The federal government has been working overtime to convince the nation that these experimental procedures are “life-saving care” and that if children don’t have access to these “gender affirming” treatments, they will commit suicide.

But the support for such inflammatory rhetoric simply doesn’t exist. We’re being asked to believe that minor children possess the maturity to make life-altering medical decisions and can fully comprehend the risks of these procedures—those that include everything from incontinence to tissue death to lack of fertility, and worse.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The increase in a new cohort of the population — de-transitioners — is proof positive of the regretfully life-altering and experimental nature of these kind of “gender affirming” medical interventions. It also demonstrates that children, as easily influenced as they are, must not be used as pawns in a political play that caters to a small but vocal and well-funded minority.

This legislation isn’t hateful or bigoted. It’s a common-sense bill that protects minors when the integrity of their bodies and mental health are on the line. It’s also representative of the widespread and bipartisan support for these kinds of bans, as the majority of Americans oppose “gender affirming care” for minors.

But the tide is turning. Several European countries that once uncritically embraced “gender-affirming care” for minors have already reconsidered or reversed course as the lack of evidence supporting the safety of these procedures and increasing evidence of long-term complications surfaces. The FDA is being sued for allegedly concealing records regarding the off-label use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones on minors. Medical malpractice claims against hospital systems that rushed minor children into “gender affirming” surgeries with little to no investigation of the minor’s underlying mental health co-morbidities are on the rise.

Nearly two dozen states have already enacted laws prohibiting “gender-affirming” interventions for minors in most circumstances. Now is the time for South Carolina to join them.


Sarah Parshall Perry is a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. The views expressed here are her own and do not reflect an institutional position for Heritage or its board of trustees. This article was distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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