Rep. Ford co-sponsors transgender legislation
A House bill that would limit access to gender reassignment surgeries for children under the age of 18 and prevent the use of public funds has the support of Gov. Tate Reeves and many Madison countians.
Since passage of House Bill 1125 two weeks ago, Reeves has been encouraging the Mississippi Senate to “get it to my desk as soon as possible.”
HB 1125 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Division B Committee on Tuesday and moves on for a full Senate vote where it must receive three-fifths majority to pass. The measure was one of 226 listed on the Senate Calendar yesterday (Wednesday).
House Bill 1125, or the Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures Act or REAP for short, was authored by Rep. Gene Newman, R-Pearl, and aims to limit access to gender reassignment surgeries and treatments to those under the age of 18 and prevent the use of public funds toward such treatments in the state.
Madison’s Rep. Jill Ford was a co-sponsor of the bill. She spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at a rally last week celebrating the vote in the House.
The bill underwent about two hours of debate before the House voted to approve the bill. “Those were the shortest two hours of my life,” said Ford, a Republican.
The Trade Mart event bore the slogan “Do No Harm” and was put on by Lesley Davis and the Mississippi Advocacy Group.
Speakers included Dr. Ligon Duncan, CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary, House Speaker Philip Gunn, Meeke Addison of American Family Radio, Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom, Dr. Mike Artigues, President-Elect of the American College of Pediatricians, Xandra, a de-transitioner, Ford, and Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gibson.
The room where the rally was held at the Mississippi Trade Mart was filled with women from the Mississippi Federation of Republican Women wearing red coats.
Gunn said that children are “a gift from God” and that he felt for any child who “struggles with the uncertainty of their gender” but said this bill would prevent them from being able to make “life changing” or “life-altering decisions” before they are 18.
The bill passed the House on Thursday, Jan. 19, by a vote of 78 to 10 with two “present” votes. The bill needed 64 votes to pass.
“I am proud the House of Representatives stepped up and passed this legislation and I encourage the Mississippi Senate to get it to my desk as soon as possible,” Reeves said in a call with the Journal last Thursday.
The bill, if approved by the Senate, will go to the governor for his signature.
“I look forward to signing this legislation to protect Mississippi kids from this woke ideology that is trying to be pressed upon kids across America,” Reeves said.
Reeves said he thought the bill would be “effective” in what it intended to do. He noted that in researching this bill his staff found that there had been conversations ongoing at places like the University of Mississippi Medical Center concerning such procedures.
“We are optimistic that if we can get this legislation to my desk and I can sign it into law we can protect kids from very dangerous surgeries and other procedures as well,” Reeves said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi released a statement in opposition to the REAP act the day it was passed in the House stating that everyone “deserves to live as their authentic selves” regardless of their age.
The group stated that the bill “criminalizes parents and healthcare providers for supporting Mississippi youth during their most challenging years.”
The statement went on to say, “Gender-affirming care will look different for every transgender person, making it all the more critical for these decisions to be between patients, their families and their doctors—not politicians forcing policy onto these vulnerable young people.”