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Lawmakers revive bill targeting medical care for trans kids

February 16, 2021 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana House will again consider a bill that would limit gender-confirming medical care for transgender minors, after lawmakers voted Tuesday to allow the bill to be introduced despite a similar measure being voted down by the Montana House last month.

The new measure would prohibit gender-confirming surgical procedures. Medical professionals who provide gender-confirming surgery or refer patients to such treatment could lose their medical license under the bill.

However, hormone treatments — which would have been banned under the failed bill — would still be permitted under the new measure.

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The previous measure was voted down in a 51-49 split. Montana legislative rules require the House Rules Committee to approve the introduction of a bill if the House has already rejected a bill “designed to accomplish the same purpose.”

The House Rules Committee voted Tuesday to allow the new bill to be considered despite similarities to the previous bill. The committee voted along party lines, with all 13 Republicans in favor and all seven Democrats opposed.

Republicans said the removal of hormone treatment from the language of the bill meant it could be considered again by the Legislature. Democrats said such amendments could have been made to the previous bill before it was voted on.

“From my perspective, these are clearly designed to accomplish the same purpose,” said House Minority Leader Kim Abbott, D-Helena.

Montana rejoins several other states considering bills this year that would curtail gender-confirming medical treatment for transgender youth, including Oklahoma, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Indiana.

The Montana Legislature is also considering a bill that would ban transgender females from competing on female sports teams sponsored by public schools and universities.

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Samuels is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.