Montana’s governor on Friday enacted a Republican-backed ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender children, days after a transgender lawmaker protesting the bill was barred from the floor of the state legislature, sparking a national furor.
The Republican House majority voted to censure Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat, on Wednesday, excluding her from the House chamber for the rest of the legislative session for saying on April 18 that lawmakers backing the bill would have blood on their hands.
The legislation, Senate Bill 99, passed the House of Representatives three days later, and Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed it into law on Friday.
Republican politicians have pressed a campaign to restrict special medical treatments prescribed for transgender youth, including hormone treatments and puberty blockers, with dozens of similar bills introduced in legislatures across the U.S.
Opponents of transgender healthcare interventions say their long-term effects are not fully understood and that children and teenagers are too young to make such life-altering choices, even with parental supervision.
Zephyr, a first-term representative from Missoula, declared that denying gender-affirming care to youngsters who feel at odds with their birth sex was “tantamount to torture” and that a ban would lead to more suicides.