FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., are introducing legislation Wednesday in Congress that would allow adults to sue doctors who perform gender transition procedures on them up to 30 years after they turn 18.
Under the Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act, patients or their legal guardians would be able to seek declaratory or injunctive relief against such practitioners, as well as compensatory damages and attorneys' fees. The provisions would apply only to procedures performed after the bill becomes law.
The proposed law also clarifies that federal law cannot be construed to force medical practitioners to offer such procedures and prohibits federal health funds from going to states that force doctors to perform them.
To define a "gender-transition procedure," the bill draws on definitions laid out in a March fact sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services, which claimed gender-affirming care includes social affirmation at any age, puberty blockers during puberty and cross-sex hormone therapy starting during early adolescence. Irreversible surgery to both breasts or genitalia is "typically used in adulthood or case-by-case basis in adolescence," according to the agency.
The bill also specifically defines biological sex as "the genetic classification of an individual as male or female, as reflected in the organization of the body of such individual for a reproductive role or capacity, such as through sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, and internal and external genitalia present at birth, without regard to the subjective sense of identity of the individual."
The bill makes an exception for medical procedures related to chromosome abnormalities.
Cotton told Fox News Digital in a statement that gender transition procedures "aren't safe or appropriate for children."
"Unfortunately, radical doctors in the United States perform dangerous, experimental, and even sterilizing gender-transition procedures on young kids, who cannot even provide informed consent," Cotton continued. "Our bill allows children who grow up to regret these procedures to sue for damages. Any doctor who performs these irresponsible procedures on kids should pay."
Banks, who serves as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told Fox News Digital that the official guidance from the Biden administration recommends "irreversible and life-altering surgery for minors too young to apply for a learner’s permit."
"These procedures lack any solid evidence and have been rejected by public health agencies around the world. Ten years from now, there will be hundreds of thousands of Americans who were permanently scarred by the radical Left’s agenda before they reached adulthood."
"If Democrats truly supported gender-confused children, they’d support our effort to give them legal recourse," he added. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., is helping Banks spearhead the bill in the House of Representatives.
Cotton and Banks are the latest lawmakers to weigh in on the national debate over what the Biden administration has described as "gender-affirming care" for minors.
Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, the highest-ranking transgender person in the U.S. government, stoked controversy earlier this year for claiming during an interview on NPR that "there is no argument" about gender-affirming care among medical professionals who specialize in children and adolescents.
Citing peer-reviewed studies as well as a "lack of conclusive evidence, and the potential for long-term, irreversible effects," the Florida Department of Health took issue with Levine's blanket claim by releasing its own fact sheet advising against the HHS's list of treatment options for children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria.
Alabama began enforcing a ban on gender transition surgery and hormone blockers for minors in early May. The Arkansas Legislature passed a similar law banning doctors from prescribing the drugs in March, but courts said it was overly broad and the state's Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed it in early April.