Sen. Jensen tables gender dysphoria bill
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Sen. Jensen tables gender dysphoria bill

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Sen. Phil Jensen

PIERRE | A South Dakota state senator on Tuesday pulled a bill that would have required school counselors to tell parents if their child expressed feelings of gender dysphoria or self-harm, saying he is yielding to an expected House bill related to parental rights.

Sen. Phil Jensen, a Rapid City Republican, tabled his bill in the Senate Education Committee.

The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the move, saying the bill would infringe on students' right to privacy. The organization said the bill could have put students whose parents don't affirm their gender identity at heightened risk of physical abuse and homelessness.

Jensen said he is also withdrawing another bill he introduced that would allow parents to stop their children from receiving health care, including counseling services, that promote or confirm a child’s gender different from their birth gender.

He said he didn't want his bill to conflict with a bill passed by the House last week that would make it illegal for physicians to administer puberty-blockers, hormone therapy or surgery to children under age 16 who want to change their gender. A Senate committee is scheduled to consider that proposal next week.

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