". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Idaho Legislature Bans Public Funding for Gender Transition Procedures

April 1, 2024

An Idaho law enacted Wednesday (H. 668) protects taxpayers from paying for gender transition procedures in a variety of ways. The legislation “adds to existing law,” namely the Vulnerable Child Protection (VCAP) Act passed in 2023, which prevented physicians from harming minors with gender transition surgeries or hormones.

The legislature declared in H. 668 that “public funds shall not be used, granted, paid, or distributed to any entity, organization, or individual for the provision or subsidy of any surgical operation or medical intervention” described in VCAP Act, “whether the surgical operation or medical intervention is administered to a minor or an adult.”

The law specifically prohibits gender transition procedures from qualifying as tax-deductible medical expenses for the state’s Medicaid program. Additionally, the law requires that “no state property, facility, or building” be used for the procedures, and that no physician provide them “in the course and scope of employment by the state or a county or local government.”

Violations of H. 668 are to be prosecuted as “misuse of public moneys,” a felony offense carrying a sentence of up to $10,000 and/or 14 years in prison for the most serious offenses. Offenders would also be terminated and barred from public office or employment, and must make restitution for the funds they misused.

The bill passed both chambers by overwhelming margins, clearing the House with 84% of the vote (58-11) on March 11 and the Senate with 76% of the vote (26-8) on March 22. Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) signed the bill into law on March 27.

Gender transition procedures “carry substantial risks and have known harmful effects, including irreversible physical alterations and, in some cases, sterility and lifelong sexual dysfunction,” the legislature said in explaining their intention behind the bill. “A surgical operation or medical intervention is never necessary to the health of the minor or adult on whom it is performed if it is for the purpose of altering the appearance of an individual in order to affirm the individual’s perception of the individual’s sex in a way that is inconsistent with the individual’s biological sex.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Idaho reacted furiously to the bill’s passage, complaining that the Idaho legislature had “once again decided to cave in to the hateful demands of far-right extremists at the expense of the safety, security, and health of Idaho’s transgender community,” and, according to local station KTVB, “adding that lawmakers could simply choose to allow transgender people in Idaho to make their own medical decisions in peace.” The ACLU has challenged similar laws restricting gender transition procedures around the country, and one prominent ACLU was recently cited for the impermissible practice of judge shopping in a legal challenge to Alabama’s VCAP.

“People should not be subjected to harmful — often irreversible — drugs and surgeries that block healthy development, alter hormonal balances, and remove healthy organs and body parts,” responded Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Sharp. “This radical agenda has devastated countless lives, which is why some countries — including Sweden, England, and Finland — have changed course.”

“Now and always, our loved ones deserve the loving embrace of family members who guide them toward this reality, along with access to safe and effective counseling,” Sharp continued. “There are only two sexes — male and female — and public funds shouldn’t be used to deny this basic truth.”

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.