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If you want individual medical freedom, then SB99 should be anathema


If you want individual medical freedom, then SB99 should be anathema

Feb 08, 2023 | 6:35 am ET
By Thomas Flanagan
If you want individual medical freedom, then SB99 should be anathema
(Photo by Getty Images).

For a party that slams “identity politics” and “government overreach,” our supermajority legislature  sure spends a lot of time talking about it.

While proclaiming to be both pro-freedom and pro-parental rights, our legislature puts forward contrary legislation. Take Senate Bill 99, proposed by Sen. John Fuller, R Kalispell. Under the guise of “providing for a youth health protection act,” SB99 is truly a proposal to  ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors and restrict the use of public resources for medical  and social transitions. It directly targets our individual freedom, chips away at parental obligation to  care for their children, and criminalizes doctors for doing their job.

A litmus test traditional conservatives use to determine a stance on an issue is the following question: “Does the government need to get involved?” In this case, the answer is “No.” In Montana, we have a constitutional right to privacy which includes medical privacy. We understand trusting a doctor and science, based relationship that doctors are obligated to have with their patients, and, in the case of minors, with their parents, to provide the highest level of care. Everyone in Montana deserves this quality of care and  SB99 unnecessarily blocks access to care that some Montanans need. 

Instead of using “gender” as a hot-button, fear-mongering pawn in some political game, I suggest  government step out of personal business. Do you want your medical decisions exposed and dictated by legislators? We need to trust parents to make decisions in close consultation with doctors whose job  is to guide, provide and increase our well being. When we criminalize doctors for providing care to minors and take medical options and decisions away from parents, we must ask ourselves: What is the goal of government?   

We value freedom in Montana. I ask proponents of this bill and members of freedom caucuses in Montana and across the nation to cross-check this bill with the idea of freedom. Do you have to  personally agree with gender-affirming procedures? No.

Do you need to advocate that a minor struggling with gender dysmorphia or similar situation go through with a gender-affirming procedure?  No.

In fact, you can advocate for alternatives. But should the government be able to take options off the table for good parents and medical professionals? Absolutely not. Especially proponents of freedom and supporters of parental rights can see this logic. 

When it comes to our medical privacy and freedom, let’s leave parenting to parents, not legislators.  Let’s leave medical care to doctors and medical professionals, not legislators. And let’s demand that freedom is not used as political fodder for partisan political games.  

It may not be your medical care they are eager to regulate today, but you could be next.