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


South Carolina Advances Bill Protecting Minors from Gender Transition Procedures

February 19, 2024

A bill to protect minors in the South Carolina legislature is rapidly advancing, despite efforts by LGBT activists and the medical lobby to derail it. The Help Not Harm Act (H. 4624) passed the state House overwhelmingly (82-23) on January 17, and it received its first hearing in the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday.

“What this bill and bills like it have done is to offer help to those who are struggling with gender dysphoria,” explained Mitch Prosser, interim president of the Palmetto Family Council, on “Washington Watch” last week. “There are those that are struggling with a clinically diagnosable disorder, gender dysphoria, and many of them are only being told half of the story. … Many people don’t even know there’s another side. … As they struggle with gender dysphoria, they’re only hearing, ‘You can take these pills … or you can have a surgical procedure.’”

“What is being called ‘gender affirming care’ … really is genital mutilation,” Prosser argued. “It is destroying who God made them to be as image bearers and a representation of who he made us to be.” When people with gender dysphoria encounter one-sided counseling, he explained, “they don’t even know that they’re image bearers. They don’t even know that they have the opportunity to learn who God made them to be and [to] get the help they desperately need in order to understand who God made them to be as image bearers of him.”

The two factions visibly opposed to South Carolina’s Help Not Harm bill, according to Prosser, are the medical lobby and LGBT activists. “There is a lot going on behind the scenes in the medical community,” he said. “There’s a lot of money to be made through pharmaceutical companies, who are literally chemically castrating children.”

Prosser responded to arguments made by advocates of gender transition procedures for minors, arguing that major medical organizations have endorsed these treatments. “The American Medical Association, the AMA, has around 67,000 doctors. … That’s only 12% of the medical community. … That [leaves] about 88% of doctors who aren’t part of the AMA.” “Washington Watch” guest host and Family Research Council Senior Fellow Joseph Backholm added that “when those associations make these decisions, they don’t do it because they polled all of their members. There’s some kind of executive committee that just makes a statement. … But those 67,000 members had no input. And, in fact, if oftentimes you do a little research, we can discover that it represents a minority of their membership.”

Prosser also noted that pro-transgender activist groups had lined up against the legislation. SC United for Justice & Equality, an LGBT activist group, actively recruited people to speak against the bill at the Wednesday subcommittee hearing, where Prosser said 48 people lined up to testify against it — far more than time would permit. Among the groups protesting the bill were the ACLU of South Carolina and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic S.C. After the hearing, left-wing groups rallied on the steps of the state capitol, where they had erected a lectern and sound equipment, and railed against the bill for another hour.

SC United also launched a petition campaign, which had generated 597 letters to legislators as of Monday, about 13 per state senator but only 0.011% of the state’s population.

Under H. 4624, South Carolina minors would be protected from “puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, or genital or nongenital gender reassignment surgery, provided or performed for the purpose of assisting an individual with a physical gender transition.” This protection could be enforced by “the appropriate licensing board,” the victim obtaining relief through “a judicial or administrative proceeding,” or by the attorney general. The bill would take effect immediately, but physicians would have until January 31, 2025 to wean minors off of puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones. The bill would also define “genital gender reassignment surgery” as “inflicting great bodily injury upon a child,” a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

In addition, H. 4624 would prohibit the use of public funds “directly or indirectly for gender transition procedures,” or state Medicaid coverage for gender transition procedures provided to individuals under the age of 26 (most transgender youth centers, in addition to treating minors, also treat young adults under 26).

As time goes on, Prosser said, “it’s becoming easier” to convince people of the need to protect children from the “irreparable harm” of gender transition procedures as more negative evidence emerges. “What we’re seeing out of Europe right now is atrocious and alarming,” he said. “If you had an older brother who had already experienced many of the things that you will experience one day, would you learn from the mistakes that he made? … A wise person would absolutely do so.”

“The European market is drying up because they’ve learned it’s not good for kids,” Prosser told The Washington Stand, “and we should wake up to the fact that they’re right. … We should be figuring out the mistakes they’ve made and not make them again.”

When someone is taking “cross-sex” hormones, Prosser argued, those hormones are literally at war with the person’s body. Not to mention, he added, “Whether or not you have surgery, you’re required to take these drugs for the rest of your life.” The most important goal in this debate should be “just telling the truth,” said Prosser. “People say this is ‘gender-affirming care.’ It’s not.”

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.