(The Center Square) — The majority of Americans say transgender surgeries for minors should be illegal, newly released polling data shows, backing up a movement to ban the practice in states around the country.
Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released the data, which showed that “78.7 percent of voters believe underage minors should be required to wait until they are adults to legally use puberty blockers and undergo permanent sex-change procedures.”
Notably, 84.6% of Independents and even 53.2% of Democrats say the same.
Mark Meckler, president of the Convention of States, said the poll shows Americans do not support “the idea that young people have to be 16 to drive, 18 to vote, and 21 to drink, and yet can undergo life-altering medical procedures in middle school.”
The poll comes as states around the country are considering bans on the practice. In recent days, a legislative committee in Utah advanced a bill of this kind, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt doubled down on his opposition to the surgery after signing a bill earlier this month to block the University of Oklahoma Medical Center from using COVID-19 relief money to pay for those transgender drugs and surgeries.
“We have a duty to protect minors from a lot of things: we don’t let them drink, we don’t let them get tattoos,” Stitt told Fox News. “Their brains aren’t fully developed.”
A leading transgender health association has lowered its recommended minimum age for starting gender transition treatment, including sex hormones and surgeries.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health maintains that, despite potential risks, it could be harmful to ban treatment including surgery in minors who want the procedure. The association says hormone treatments can begin as early as age 14 and some surgeries as early as 15.
But Republicans in states like Michigan, Tennessee and others are considering similar bans. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s new policy to investigate those gender transition surgeries as child abuse has sparked a flurry of controversy and lawsuits as well.
“We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, said in a statement.
As The Center Square previously reported, in 2021 Arkansas became the first state to ban transgender drugs and procedures for minors.
“They need to get to be 18 before they make those decisions,” Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum said at the time.
The poll surveyed more than 1,000 likely voters Oct. 8 through Oct. 11.