A CALL FOR COMMON SENSE

First Things | 11/13/2015 | Ramona Tausz
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In South Dakota, some are arguing that protecting children is bad for business.

The state’s House of Representatives will vote today on a bill that would prohibit doctors from providing gender transition surgery, puberty-blockers, or hormone therapy to children under 16. The legislation has drawn routine condemnations from LGBT organizations. But one of the most common objections has been that it will hurt South Dakota’s bottom line.

Vulnerable - Child - Protection - Act - HB

The Vulnerable Child Protection Act (HB 1057) seeks to end “criminal acts against vulnerable children, who are too young to understand the impact that sterility, mutilation, and other health risks that are lifelong will have on them later in life,” said sponsor Rep. Fred Deutsch. Deutsch, a representative from Florence, introduced the bill after learning that at least three facilities in South Dakota currently provide sex-change procedures and hormone treatments to gender-dysphoric minors.

Deutsch’s bill passed the House Affairs Committee with a vote of 8–5 last week, making it one of the few such bills in any state to make it out of committee. He told First Things he’s optimistic that it has the votes to pass in the House. But only “time will tell” whether it can move through the Senate and across the governor’s desk.

Opponents - Businessmen - Sioux - Falls - South

Some of its main opponents are businessmen. The Sioux Falls South Dakota Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill. Sanford Health, one of the largest employers in the Dakotas, is also fighting it. Rep. Jamie Smith, who is against the bill, has stated he has received pushback from national companies. And the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce has denounced the bill because it would “jeopardize economic development.”

“South Dakota is home to a growing number of national and international businesses, including banks, research firms, manufacturers and health care systems, that believe workplaces and communities need to be inclusive...
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