New Idaho law makes it a felony for doctors to perform ‘gender-affirming’ care

by Jacob Fuller

Matt Bush, FISM News

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed the “Vulnerable Child Protection Act” into law Tuesday that prohibits doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, performing body mutilating surgeries, or removing any otherwise healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue for minors who are struggling with their sexual identity.

One of the first lines in Idaho’s House Bill 71 is, “any medical practitioner who knowingly engages in any of the following practices upon a child for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of or affirm the child’s perception of the child’s sex if that perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex shall be guilty of a felony.”

Idaho is the 12th state to enact such a law joining Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia, all states with significant Republican leadership.

“This bill is aptly named the Vulnerable Child Protection Act because it seeks to protect children with gender dysphoria from medical and surgical interventions that can cause permanent damage to their bodies before they are mature enough to make such serious health decisions,” Little wrote in a transmittal letter to the Idaho House Speaker.

Little also wisely warned, “as policymakers, we should take great caution whenever we consider allowing the government to interfere with loving parents and their decisions about what is best for their children.”

The new law will go into effect next January and will make it a felony to provide minors, children under the age of 18, with what has become known as “gender-affirming care.” If convicted, doctors in Idaho could face up to 10 years in prison.


In recent years, providing care to children who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria has become a polarizing topic in America. In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association have all come out in support of gender-affirming care even for minors.

“Gender-affirming care is medically-necessary, evidence-based care that improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people,” AMA Board Member Michael Suk claimed.

Conservatives point to stories like the 2021 “60 Minutes” segment or the New York Times article that show the clear downsides of puberty blockers and surgeries.

Idaho and other states who have passed similar legislation focus on the fact that there have been no long-term studies and that the “evidence” that the AMA and other organizations point to is incomplete and misleading, at best.

Idaho’s bill highlighted those facts:

No long-term randomized studies evaluate the efficacy or safety of the use of puberty blockers for the purpose of treating gender dysphoria, and no randomized clinical trials have been conducted on the efficacy or safety of the use of cross-sex hormones in adults or children for the purpose of treating gender dysphoria. These experimental, irreversible, and medically unnecessary pharmaceutical and surgical interventions violate the Hippocratic oath … to ‘do no harm.’

Some of the most well-known and most respected research on this was pointed out in “Psychology Today” and referenced by the AMA and others. There are 16 studies highlighted in this article, the earliest of which is from 2011 with only three of the studies started prior to 2020.

The article even states, “One will notice that there have not been any randomized controlled trials. There is a general consensus in the field that such a trial would be unethical given the body of literature we have so far indicating that those in the control group would be likely to suffer adverse mental health outcomes compared to those randomized to the treatment groups.”

Even the research that proponents of gender-affirming care point to, is far from complete and it does not paint a clear picture that these life-altering decisions have a positive long-term or short-term effect.