Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed legislation that prohibits medical professionals or anyone else from providing gender transition procedures to anyone under the age of 18. The ban includes both surgeries and hormone treatments.

“At the end of the day, there are two positions here,” Reeves said in a statement after signing the legislation. “One tells children that they’re beautiful the way they are. That they can find happiness in their own bodies.”

“The other tells them that they should take drugs and cut themselves up with expensive surgeries in order to find freedom from depression. I know which side I’m on. No child in Mississippi will have these drugs or surgeries pushed upon them,” Reeves said.

The Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union released a statement opposing the new law.

“This law shuts the door on best-practice medical care and puts politics between parents, their children, and their doctors,” a statement from the ACLU of Mississippi read. “But this fight is far from over — we are determined to build a future where Mississippi is a safe place to raise every child.”

The legislation bans any surgery that is designed to alter or remove a healthy physical or anatomical characteristic or feature on a person’s body to make that feature or characteristic resemble the opposite sex unless the person is at least 18 years old.

In addition to banning surgery on reproductive organs, the law prohibits facial surgeries, voice surgeries, hair reconstruction, or any other aesthetic procedure designed to make the child appear as though he or she is the opposite sex.

The prescription of puberty-blocking drugs, which are designed to halt testosterone secretion in boys and halt the production of estrogen and progesterone in girls are also banned when prescribed to assist with gender transition. The law also bans cross-sex hormone therapy for children, a treatment that increases testosterone in girls and estrogen in boys to levels larger than what naturally occurs in children of a given sex or age.

Children born with a medically verifiable sex development disorder are exempt from the law. This includes children whose sex characteristics are irresolvably ambiguous at birth and those who are born with both ovaries and testicular tissue. It includes exceptions for children who are not born with a normal sex chromosome structure.

More in US

Under the law, any medical professional who violates the law or assists another person in violating the law will have his or her medical license revoked. Any patient who receives drugs or surgeries as a minor, in violation of the law, can file a lawsuit against the medical professionals involved up to 30 years after the doctor began providing illegal services. The person will be able to seek financial damages.

Jay Richards, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Life, Religion, and Family, told CNA that “there are no longer-term studies showing these procedures benefit kids, and plenty of evidence that they don’t.”

“Mississippi was the state that helped bring down Roe v. Wade with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision,” Richards said. “And the state is once again leading the way with its law to restrict the ghoulish practice of gender transition drugs and surgery on minors.”

“Other states should follow Mississippi’s lead in taking both administrative and legislative action to restrict this quackery,” he said.

Matt Sharp, senior counsel and director of the Center for Legislative Advocacy at Alliance Defending Freedom, also commended Mississippi’s action.

“We are grateful that the Mississippi Legislature recognized that children must be protected from harmful, irreversible, and unnecessary pharmaceutical interventions and surgical procedures,” Sharp told CNA. “Mississippi should be commended for doing what all states should do: implementing policy that prioritizes counseling and psychotherapy for children experiencing distress over their biological sex and that stops the injection of political agendas into the health care system.”

The legislation also stops the state’s Medicaid division from funding gender transitions for minors and bans the use of public funds and tax deductions for gender transition procedures and drugs prohibited by state law.

(Story continues below)