The South Dakota Catholic Conference opposes Senate Bill 216, which would permit medical providers to prescribe puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones to minors, for the purpose of making an individual appear to be a sex that is not consistent with his or her biological sex.
SB 216 would partially repeal the “Help Not Harm Act” (House Bill 1080) a 2023 law supported by the Catholic Conference that protects minors from harmful medical procedures that have the potential to cause irreversible damage.
As theories of sex and gender inconsistent with nature and the natural moral law are increasingly prevalent in popular culture, it is essential for the law to protect children while they develop and mature physiologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Children are not always capable of understanding the long-term consequences of their decisions. This is the rationale behind laws that restrict the ability of minors to sign contracts, enter into a marriage, purchase alcohol and tobacco, and vote, to name a few examples.
The Church has deep compassion for the experience of suffering that marks those with gender dysphoria, and firmly insists on the dignity of all human persons as created and loved by God. At the same time, authentic charity must always be rooted in the truth. As the Holy Father has said, “we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.” (Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, No. 56).