Governor Tate Reeves has signed a bill that prohibits minors from receiving any gender-affirming care in Mississippi.
On Tuesday, Reeves signed the “Regular Experimental Adolescent Procedures (REAP) Act” into law, banning anyone under the age of 18 from receiving hormone treatments or therapy.
“At the end of the day, there are two positions here. One tells children that they’re beautiful the way they are. That they can find happiness in their own bodies. The other tells them that they should take drugs and cut themselves up with expensive surgeries in order to find freedom from depression. I know which side I’m on. No child in Mississippi will have these drugs or surgeries pushed upon them,” said Reeves.
In addition to banning minors from receiving gender transitioning services, the bill also prevents public funds or tax deductions for the procedures, places enforcement procedures on the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure, and stops Medicaid from covering gender transition for those under 18.
Reeves explained that at this time, the FDA has not approved using puberty blockers to stop the progression of puberty for those who are experiencing gender dysphoria.
“These non-FDA approved drugs can lead to a range of negative side effects including low bone density, altered adult height, and impaired special memory,” Reeves said. “These types of experiments often lead to a disruption of basic reproductive functions and ultimately, infertility.”
Matt Walsh, a columnist in The Daily Wire, commended the legislature on the passing of the REAP Act, saying that he believes the bill will help protect children until receiving treatments that will permanently change their bodies.
“These kids are put on so-called puberty blockers to chemically castrate them,” Walsh stated. “Off-brand cancer drugs that we are giving to children. They’re giving cross-sex hormone, which have irreversible and permanent effects.”
Following the House’s 78-30 vote on Jan. 20, Speaker Philip Gunn called it “the most transformative” bill the legislature has entertained so far into the 2023 session.
“As far as things we have done thus far in the session, I would have to point to that as the most transformative, impactful piece of legislation that we have done in the first month,” Gunn said. “And it was something so critically important, we took it up early in the session.”
During the 2021 legislative session, Reeves signed the “Mississippi Fairness Act” into law, prohibiting biological men from competing in women’s sports in Mississippi. According to the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the bill had widespread and bipartisan support with 79% of registered Mississippi voters backing such legislation.