By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
California has enacted a sanctuary law for out-of-state minors seeking transgender medical care and procedures, but it may not interfere with Wyoming’s laws – because Wyoming has no law against transgender medical procedures for minors.
Numerous attorneys declined to comment to Cowboy State Daily on the issue. Following is an in-house analysis.
California’s new law Senate Bill 107, enacted Sept. 29, makes it illegal for California health care establishments to release medical information on children receiving “gender-affirming” health care or mental health care, even when subpoenaed by authorities in other states.
There are 15 states with enacted or proposed laws limiting medical treatments for transgender minors, usafacts.org reported last October. These included Montana, Kentucky, Utah, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Utah – but not Wyoming.
Wyoming lawmakers are in their interim season between sessions and may be drafting new laws on the issue, though none were formally introduced as of Wednesday.
The terms “transgender” and “gender-affirming” do not appear in Wyoming’s statutes.
Wyoming therefore has no specific law designed to penalize parents or surgeons who enable transgender surgeries or chemical treatments for minors – in the state or out of it.
Child Abuse – Or Health Care
County prosecutors in the mostly-Republican state of Wyoming may be inclined to charge doctors or parents for child abuse for performing or facilitating cross-sex treatments on children, such as double-mastectomies, castration, or administering hormone blockers.
Child abuse in Wyoming is defined as intentionally or recklessly inflicting physical or mental injury, torture or confinement upon a child under 16 years of age and at least six years younger than the perpetrator.
Whether some cross-sex treatments could fall under child abuse definitions likely would have to be decided in court since the issue isn’t defined in Wyoming’s laws.
Prosecutors hoping to charge child gender-care surgeons or parents with child abuse also may run into the Wyoming Constitution, Article 1, Section 38 (a). The clause guarantees parents the right to make “health care” decisions for their children.
“Health care” is defined in Wyoming statute 35-22-401 (a) viii as “any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or otherwise affect an individual’s physical or mental condition.”
In California, “gender-affirming” health care is defined as a treatment for the affliction of gender dysphoria, which is a disorder causing extreme discomfort with one’s biological sex.
California considers puberty hormone-blockers, appearance-changing “interventions” and other “interventions to alleviate … gender dysphoria” as “medically necessary health care that respects the gender identity of the patient.”
But in Wyoming, any distinction or similarity between transgender treatment for minors and child abuse is undefined.
The Wyoming Legislature convenes its next lawmaking session in January.
Feds Claim ‘Discrimination’
The U.S. Department of Justice on March 31 sent a letter to all state attorneys general saying that states with laws that limit transgender treatment are “intentionally erecting discriminatory barriers.”
The letter threatens legal action against those states.
“When a state or recipient of federal funds criminalizes or even restricts a type of medical care predominantly sought by transgender persons, an intent to disfavor that class can ‘readily be presumed,’” says the letter. “A ban on gender-affirming procedures, therapy or medication may be a form of discrimination against transgender persons, which is impermissible unless it is ‘substantially related’ to a sufficiently important governmental interest.”
The letter urges states to be ready to justify such restrictions and calls transgender treatment “not only appropriate but often necessary for (minors’) physical and mental health.”