Lansing, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Ahead of the legislative spring break, State Representative Brad Paquette sent a letter to the House Speaker, urging consideration of his bills which would prohibit drugs or gender transition surgery for minors.

In the letter to House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit), Rep. Paquette shared his request that the bills be taken up in committee.

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“In light of recent developments, I believe that these bills, House Bills 4539-4540, have a renewed sense of urgency to protect minors from dangerous, irreversible, and unproven treatments,” the letter said.

Consequences for medical practices under new legislation.

Rep. Paquette shared in an interview with Michigan News Source how his experience as a middle and high school teacher has helped influence his stance on “gender affirming care” for minors.

“I had plenty of former students who started identifying by the other sex and I never had a problem with it in class,” he said in the interview, “We focused on content and class culture.”

He did share that his concern has come from a new push in how students view themselves.

“What’s really become alarming is this push for this mindset that children can be born wrong and that the only way they can remedy that is with drugs or surgery,” Rep. Paquette said, “That’s very very concerning and I take strong issue with that.”

House Bills 4539 and 4540, which were proposed in May 2023, have not received a committee hearing yet but would provide steep consequences for doctors attempting certain “gender affirming care” such as puberty blockers or “genital gender reassignment surgery” for minors.

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“It would make it a felony for doctors to prescribe these or to do the gender reassignment surgery which is irreversible on children,” Rep. Paquette said in the interview.

Rep. Paquette also objected to the verbage surrounding treatment of minors, and the “concerted effort to get kids on hormones and block their puberty.”

“In the way that they phrase it is that it mitigates the need for surgery and things down the road,” Rep. Paquette explained that the medications aren’t approved, “We have no idea fully what impact it has on brain development and bone density, there is no long term evidence about this.”

Health policy that upholds the oath of do no harm, is the main focus according to Rep. Paquette, which includes defending what care is and pointing to “evidence based practices.”

“When you have a vulnerable population, especially a community that has strong mental health vulnerabilities,” he said “Then that’s an area where care and health policy, we have to be very active in protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”

While Speaker Tate has not yet replied to him yet, Rep. Paquette expressed optimism for future conversations with him and others about the issue.

Michigan could take the example of the United Kingdom.

Rep. Paquette (R-Niles) referenced a recent decision by the United Kingdom to join other countries in restricting access to puberty blockers for minors.

After an extensive and careful review that spanned four years, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service concluded that banning puberty blockers for children outside of clinical research trials was in their best interests,” the letter said. “The United Kingdom is joining a
steadily growing list of developed countries in making this decision, including Norway and Sweden.”

The House Education Committee Member also expressed his optimism to Michigan News Source regarding Michigan’s future stance.

“I’m fervently confident that in due time Michigan will catch up with other countries in the realization of what we’re doing to kids,” he said. “I want it to be sooner rather than later.”