SD Gov. Kristi Noem terminates transgender advocacy group's contract with Dept. of Health

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 27, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has ordered the termination of a transgender advocacy group's contract with the state Department of Health, alleging that the organization committed numerous contract violations.

In a Friday letter, the South Dakota Department of Health accused The Transformation Project of numerous contract violations. The alleged violations included a failure to submit quarterly reports and failing to participate in the Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota annual conference.

The letter also accused the advocacy group of failing to comply with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirements by neglecting to collect and share data to evaluate the "Community Healthcare Worker" program. 

"South Dakota does not support this organization's efforts, and state government should not be participating in them," Noem told The Christian Post Wednesday via her Chief of Communications Ian Fury.

"We should not be dividing our youth with radical ideologies. We should treat every single individual equally as a human being."

Fury said the governor is reviewing all Department of Health contracts and "immediately terminated" the contract with The Transformation Project. He said the agreement was signed without Noem's "knowledge or approval." 

"The Transformation Project's contract was also found to be out of compliance, including failing to submit required quarterly reports for two consecutive quarters," Fury stated. 

The Transformation Project and the South Dakota Department of Health did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment. 

"Let us be clear: we firmly believe that the termination of our contract with the SD
Department of Health was unwarranted and that our organization has remained in
compliance with the terms of the contract," Transformation Project Executive Director Susan Williams wrote in a letter Tuesday. 

"We strongly disagree with the Department's assertion that we failed to perform our contractual obligations. We are also deeply concerned by the appearance that the termination of this contract stems not from our actions but as a result of the population we serve."

The organization will review "all available options" and seek legal advice "in the hopes that we may remedy this circumstance."

As The Daily Signal reported Friday, the Republican governor terminated the contract after the conservative outlet informed her about the 3rd Annual Midwest Gender Identity Summit that Sanford Health and The Transformation Project plan to host next month.

Sanford Health describes itself as the "largest rural health system in the United States."

The summit will be held on Jan. 13 at the Sanford Research Center in Sioux Falls. According to the event page, the summit's purpose is "to review the needs of transgender patients in healthcare. This includes inter-personal communication, as well as physical and mental health needs." 

Advertised discussions at the summit include topics such as “Providing Gender Affirming Care," “Gender Affirming Care and The Attitude of Affirmation in Assessment" and “World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care for the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People, Version 8 (SOC8)."

In September, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health removed sections from its standards-of-care document related to "suggested minimal ages" for minors to be provided so-called “gender-affirming care” or “surgical treatment." Such interventions include experimental puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones and sex change operations such as breast amputations on girls and removing boys' genitals. 

As The Christian Post reported, Noem signed a bill earlier this year that prohibits biological men who identify as female from competing in women's sports. The legislation, Senate Bill 46, also known as "An Act to protect fairness in women's sports," passed with overwhelming votes in the state House and Senate. 

During the signing ceremony, Noem said the law would provide female athletes with "a level playing field" in sports competitions in South Dakota. 

In March 2021, Noem issued a style-and-form veto of similar legislation barring biological men from competing in women's sports, urging revisions of sections that experts warned could pose legal problems for South Dakota. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follower her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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