New Law Allows Suing Adults Assisting Minors with Gender Changes

( – Tennessee legislators have approved a new law that would allow citizens to sue adults who help minors get gender change procedures without their parent’s consent, in the latest step towards limiting minors’ access to transgender medical treatments.

The bill primarily focuses on adults who help minors travel across state lines to obtain a transgender medical procedure and allows civil action against adults who do so without informing a minor’s parents and gaining their consent. The bill doesn’t identify any specific medical procedures either, so an adult could be liable if a child receives hormone blockers or gender reassignment surgery.

Tennessee legislators’ initial draft of the new law included criminal consequences for adults who aid minors in their attempt to receive transgender medical care, but lawmakers revised the draft and removed the criminal charges connected to the offense. The bill comes just days after Tennessee’s lawmakers passed a law that would allow citizens to file lawsuits against adults who help minors travel to other states to obtain an abortion without their parent’s knowledge or consent. The abortion bill had a majority of Tennessee’s state senators’ support, raising concerns about a complete ban on abortion within the state.

While the newest bill hasn’t officially passed into law, political experts believe Tennessee’s Governor, Bill Lee, will enact it in the coming days. Representative Bryan Richey sponsored the bill and released a statement defending the controversial legislation, in which he claimed that parents should have the final say regarding what kind of medical treatment or procedures their children undergo. Lee has expressed a similar sentiment in the past and has even signed other legislation into law that banned gender reassignment surgeries for children within Tennessee.

Lee hasn’t officially addressed either the abortion bill or the gender-affirming care bill, but the governor has allowed similar legislation to pass into law during his time as the state’s chief executive. Lee’s approval of the bill seems especially imminent due to his status as the state’s most prominent Republican official and the lack of vetoes during his time in office. While Tennessee’s state legislators claim the bill would protect parents and their children, online critics have identified potential flaws with the proposed law.

Due to the bill’s vague provisions, the law could be applied broadly and see civil lawsuits filed against adults who refer children to websites that feature information about gender-affirming medical treatment. Despite the online criticism surrounding the bill, Tennessee lawmakers are expected to succeed and have Lee sign it into law. If Lee signs the bill, Tennessee would be one of the first states to ban adults from helping minors receive gender-affirming medical procedures without their parent’s consent.

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