Few issues raise as much concern as social issues. That was certainly the case this week in the House. Four anti abortion bills started the day and to me they were not difficulties votes given my stand on abortion.
The fifth bill was not a difficult policy vote since it was about boys playing on girls teams if they considered themselves as feeling like a girl. The issue on that bill changes when it gets to appropriations, probably next week. There the fiscal note will kill the bill since we can’t afford the potential $400+ million loss of federal funds the Federal government could hit us with due to the laws passed by Congress.
When the sixth bill, HB 113 was presented things changed quickly. The bill was titled “Provide for youth health protection”. In section 4 of the bill it reads “A health care provider may not (1) prescribe, provide, or administer gender transition procedures to a minor or (2) refer a minor to a health care provider for gender transition procedures. If this is done the doctor stands a good chance of losing their license to practice medicine.
After several readings of this bill, a great deal of praying and deep thought, I concluded that this bill actually had three parts that must be considered in my decision making process.
Part one. Protection of a minor child. We all want to protect children, I think that is a given. We do that in many ways, including driving laws, drinking age laws, smoking age laws and many more. I certainly support protecting children and considered this an important part of the bill.
Part two. Parental responsibility. No where in the bill does it say a seven year old or even a fifteen year old can go to the doctor alone and get this surgery. If that would occur, the doctor would be at risk of losing their license and justifiably so. I believe parents know their children and what they need better than the legislature or any government body and certainly the social as a whole. Are there bad actors in society, certainly, and might some push their child to have this surgery, probably. I have received between 700 and 750 emails about this bill and several of them tell heart breaking stories about what their child has experienced about sexual identification. Some have even said their child committed suicide because of their stress. I felt parental responsibility needed to be included in the bill.
Part three: The legislature coming between the doctor and the parents and children. I doubt if many of you would want the uneducated legislators telling a doctor, who is professionally trained, how to treat an illness. If that is the case, why would we tell the doctors they MAY NOT (can’t) do what was previously described, no options allowed in the bill. If the doctor is professionally trained to treat what I consider a mental illness issue, they may well be the very person who can help the child and the parents through this very stressful time without administering live changing drugs or surgery. I feel we can trust doctors to do what is best for their patients.
I fully understand some reading this will disagree with my conclusions and maybe not even consider parts two and three. They are entitled to their opinions but I felt I had to explain my reasons for voting no on HB 113. The decision was not made lightly or without deep concern for the safety of the child. Thank you to those who reached out to me on this difficult bill.