Don’t Impose Gender Reassignment on Minors (HB 1532, 2018)

Cornerstone Action, representing thousands of New Hampshire residents, endorses HB 1532. We urge you to send this children’s health measure to the full House with an Ought to Pass recommendation.

This legislation is a thoughtful response to a recent policy decision made by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Last July 1, without advance notice, DHHS began including gender reassignment as a covered service under Medicaid. Taxpayers thus became responsible for paying for gender reassignment under Medicaid, including procedures on minors.

Cornerstone’s testimony on HB 1560, submitted separately, details the outrageous lack of transparency in DHHS’s policy change. That isn’t our principal reason for supporting HB 1532, however. We are deeply concerned that about normalizing the amputation of a child’s or adolescent’s healthy body parts. Medicaid coverage for gender reassignment – a substantive change in public policy – indicates tacit indifference to mutilative surgery for children.

Consider that of all children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria, for about 90% of them the dysphoria resolves or disappears in adulthood. Amputation is a high price to pay for a temporary condition.

HB 1532 mentions only surgery. We suggest that the hormonal component of gender reassignment for minors be included in the bill as well.

If you are unwilling to bar gender reassignment for minors, if you consider it a non-elective procedure, consider what action you’ll advocate when the situation arises of a gender-dysphoric child whose parent opposes potential chemical castration or surgical mutilation for the child. Is that parent going to be subject to a child neglect charge for denying medical care for the child? Is the state of New Hampshire going to step in and take custody of the child?

I ask those questions in good faith. I’m describing not a nightmare scenario, but the foreseeable outcome of normalizing gender reassignment for children.

The sponsors of HB 1532 are putting children’s health ahead of politics. Please support them by voting OTP on the bill.

Testimony delivered by Shannon McGinley, Cornerstone Action executive director.