South Carolina legislature prohibits child sex changes, bill heads to governor's desk

“We must prevent our young people from making irreversible errors."


On Thursday, the South Carolina legislator sent a bill to Republican Governor Henry McMasters' desk that bans doctors from providing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital surgery to anyone under the age of 18 years old. The governor is expected to sign it into law.

South Carolina House Bill 4624's ban would begin August 31 with an exemption for minors who are currently taking these drugs, who will have until January 31, 2025, to come off of them. It would not ban the use of puberty blockers for children with precocious puberty or "other procedures unrelated to gender transition." 

The bill addresses parental rights and prohibits public school staff members from keeping secrets from them. The bill states that "a nurse, counselor, teacher, principal, or other official or staff at a public school shall not knowingly withhold from a minor's parent or legal guardian information related to the minor's perception that his or her gender is inconsistent with his or her sex." 

It would also require the school to notify parents immediately if their child requests to use "a pronoun or title that does not align with the minor's sex." 

In a statement, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Senior Director of Legal Policy Cathryn Oakley claimed that this bill "is a major violation of South Carolinians' liberty." She urged McMasters to "stand on the side of the business community, medical professionals, and the vast majority of his own constituents, reject this extremism, and veto this hateful bill.”

According to the HRC's website, South Carolina would be the 24th state to ban sex-change procedures for those under the age of 18. 

In January, Governor McMasters told WPDE the bill was "a good idea to keep young people safe and healthy." He added, "If they wanna make those decisions later when they're adults then that's a different story, but we must prevent our young people from making irreversible errors."

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