Illinois lawmakers react to Missouri law restricting transgender procedures

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he will support any family who moves to Illinois from Missouri after a new law in the Show Me State bans procedures for transgender youth. Republicans applaud Missouri’s law.

Senate Bill 49, or the Safe Act, was signed into law by Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson. The law limits procedures for children who are transgender. Different types of procedures depend on the child’s age.

Illinois approved House Bill 4664 in early 2023 to protect access to such procedures. The law also seeks to safeguard Illinois health care professional who provide transgender care from being targeted by other states such as Missouri.

Pritzker was asked about Missouri’s new law and said he would support any family that chooses to move to Illinois.

“My message, not only to the teenagers but the families, is that first of all, they deserve to live in a place that’s welcoming, that’s affirming, and that supports them,” Pritzker said. “We provide that kind of care in Illinois.”

Of the 146,000 people Illinois saw move to other states in 2021, the Land of Lincoln lost on net 14,861 people to Missouri, according to U.S. Census data analyzed by Wirepoints.

Parsons said in a statement that Missouri’s law is about protection.

“We support everyone’s right to his or her pursuit of own happiness; however, we must protect children from making life-altering decisions that they could come to regret in adulthood once they have physically and emotionally matured,” Parson said. “These decisions have permanent consequences for life and should not be made by impressionable children who may be in crisis or influenced by the political persuasions of others.”

Illinois Republican legislators have applauded Parson’s move to ban youth access to transgender procedures.

State Rep. Adam Niemerg, R-Dietrich, told The Center Square that more states should be following in the Show Me State’s footsteps.

“It’s a historic bill, many more states should do the same,” he said. “These are kids we are talking about and our number one priority should be to protect them.”

State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, said children who cannot make decisions for themselves at such an age, should not be able to make a decision on their gender.

“Not only is chemically castrating kids barbaric, it also does nothing to change a person’s sex,” Halbrook said. “Kids who cannot vote, buy cigarettes or alcohol or even go on school field trips without parental consent, are incapable of making life altering decisions like this. We need to follow Missouri’s lead here in Illinois.”

Pritzker condemned banning medical procedures for any citizen.

“I think it’s frankly despicable that there are states that are banning the kind of health care that’s needed for these kids,” Pritzker said. “Anybody that knows a family that has a trans child knows that there are already major challenges that you are going through, and you need health care professionals that are supportive.”

Missouri’s law took effect Aug. 28.

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