Idaho’s legislative culture warriors are at it again, weaponizing the government against families with transgender kids and criminalizing their doctors. House Bill 71, which passed the House of Representatives on Valentine’s Day, now goes to the Senate. If it is enacted into law, it might result in a few suicide attempts by stigmatized transgender kids before being blocked as unconstitutional in federal court. The lawyers challenging the legislation will be able, once again, to replenish their bank accounts with taxpayer funds as a result of the Legislature’s bullying of our transgender population.

HB 71 makes it a felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming care to transgender minors, despite the fact that every major medical association approves of such care as safe and effective. Some fringe medical groups differ, but it does not make sense for the legislature to write the view of a small minority into Idaho law. The responsible course of action would be to follow the position of last year’s Senate GOP caucus, opposing similar legislation. The caucus said the bill “undermines parental rights and allows the government to interfere in parents’ medical decision-making authority for their children.” In other words, keep the heavy hand of government out of doctor-patient relations.

The bill would also prohibit transition-related surgery on minors, although no evidence exists that such surgeries are occurring in Idaho — a solution searching for a problem. Rep. Skaug, the primary bill sponsor, raised the frightening specter of “decisions to cut away healthy bodily organs and to start down the road to chemical castration at age 12.” As an attorney, he should know that hyperbole is no substitute for real facts.