South Carolina becomes latest state to ban gender transition surgeries, hormones for minors

Operating room staff perform a surgery.
Operating room staff perform a surgery. | Getty Images

South Carolina became the latest state to ban hormonal and surgical gender transition interventions for minors, as the total number of states prohibiting the performance of life-altering procedures on youth with gender dysphoria has risen above two dozen.

On Tuesday, South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Henry McMaster announced in an X post that he “signed the Help Not Harm bill into law, which protects our state’s children from irreversible gender transition procedures and bans public funds from being used for them.” McMaster indicated he intended to join “legislators and supporters at a ceremonial bill signing in the Upstate next week.”

The measure, formally known as House Bill 4624, declares that “A physician, mental health provider, or other health care professional shall not knowingly provide gender transition procedures to a person under eighteen years of age.” It defines “gender transition procedures” as “puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, or genital or nongenital gender reassignment surgery.” 

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McMaster’s approval of the legislation follows its passage by the Republican-controlled South Carolina House of Representatives in a 67-26 vote on May 9 and a 28-8 vote in favor of the bill by the Republican-controlled South Carolina Senate a week earlier. While most support for the measure came from Republicans, two Democrats in the state House and one Democrat in the state Senate broke with their party to vote in favor of it. 

In addition to forbidding the performance of gender transition procedures on minors, House Bill 4624 declares that “Public funds may not be used directly or indirectly for gender transition procedures.” Doctors or mental health professionals found to have violated the law by performing such procedures could be subject to disciplinary action by the “licensing entity with jurisdiction” over them.

The bill also contains an additional provision prohibiting public school officials from taking action to “encourage or coerce a minor to withhold from the minor’s parent or legal guardian the fact that the minor’s perception of his or her gender is inconsistent with his or her sex” and requiring school administrators to inform parents if their children identify as a member of the opposite sex to a school employee and/or asks to be called by pronouns that do not align with their biological sex. 

South Carolina is the 25th state to ban some or all types of gender transition procedures on minors. Other states that have passed similar measures are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

The push to ban or limit minors from obtaining hormonal and surgical gender transition interventions comes amid concerns about their long-term impacts. In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service advised gender clinics to implement a pause on first appointments for those younger than 18 after the release of a long-awaited review of how the government service treats youth with gender dysphoria. The review was prompted by the exponential increase in youth seeking treatment for gender dysphoria over the past decade-plus. 

The American College of Pediatricians has listed possible side effects of puberty blockers as “osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility” while warning that cross-sex hormones can cause youth to experience “an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers across their lifespan.”

In an op-ed published by The Free Press last year, a former gender clinic employee elaborated on the negative side effects of cross-sex hormones, which she witnessed firsthand. One case involved a 17-year-old girl prescribed testosterone who experienced severe vaginal bleeding that “soaked through an extra heavy pad, her jeans, and a towel she had wrapped around her waist.” 

“We found out later this girl had intercourse and, because testosterone thins the vaginal tissues, her vaginal canal had ripped open,” the former gender clinic employee added. The op-ed described another situation where testosterone caused a girl to develop a painful transformation to her clitoris, which “extended below her vulva” and “chafed and rubbed painfully in her jeans.”

As for gender transition surgeries that remove healthy body parts that align with an individual’s biological sex and/or create artificial body parts that correspond to an individual’s stated gender identity, the office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shared pictures of the scars left behind from double mastectomies performed on girls who identify as boys and the removal of forearm tissue to create synthetic penises for trans-identified girls.

Chloe Cole, a detransitioner who once identified as a member of the opposite sex but has outgrown her discomfort with her biological sex, outlined her negative experience with gender transition procedures in a lawsuit filed against the medical professionals who treated her for gender dysphoria. 

Cole attributed suicidal thoughts she experienced during her teenage years to the double mastectomy she received as a minor and explained how the procedure left her with “deep physical and emotional wounds, severe regrets, and distrust of the medical system.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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