BOISE — Idaho’s House Judiciary and Rules Committee elected to hold Idaho House Bill 465 in committee on February 25, 2020, a move applauded by ACLU of Idaho.

Idaho House Bill 465 threatened medical professionals with up to life in prison for following medical best practices in the treatment of transgender youth.

“This dangerous legislation would have put vulnerable children at risk and threatened doctors with life in prison for providing them with age-appropriate and necessary health care,” said Kathy Griesmyer, Policy Director for ACLU of Idaho. “The government should not come between a family and the health care that their child needs, and we should not criminalize necessary medical treatments that can help someone live a healthier, happier life. This proposed legislation was an attack on transgender people, their families, and the medical community.”

HB 465 would have prevented health care providers from following the professional ethics and treatment guidelines of the American Medical Association, the American Association of Pediatrics, and other respected scientific and medical institutions.

Research shows that transgender youth whose families support their gender identity have a 52% decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 48% decrease in suicide attempts and significant increases in self-esteem and general health. 

“Parents of transgender children, like most parents, simply want what is best for their children, which includes working with doctors to ensure that their children are provided with the most medically appropriate treatments,” Griesmyer said.

Public testimony to the committee was emotional and filled with many transgender individuals, loved ones of transgender individuals, medical doctors, medical associations, human rights advocacy groups, legal advocacy groups, and concerned citizens testifying to the harmful nature of the bill. Testimony lasted for hours and more than 100 people signed up in opposition to the bill. ACLU of Idaho is proud of this display of civic engagement and democracy.