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Texas Supreme Court allows gender-affirming care ban to remain in effect

In Texas in the US, the state’s Supreme Court allowed the ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors to remain in effect while a lawsuit against it proceeds.

Photo by Courtney Rose from Unsplash.com

In Texas in the US, the state’s Supreme Court allowed the ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors to remain in effect while a lawsuit against it proceeds, even as it stated that the families, health care professionals, and organizations challenging the ban are unlikely to succeed in proving that it violates the Texas constitution.

Writing for the majority in the 8-1 ruling, Justice Rebeca Aizpuru Huddle stated that “the Legislature made a permissible, rational policy choice to limit the types of available medical procedures for children, particularly in light of the relative nascency of both gender dysphoria and its various modes of treatment and the Legislature’s express constitutional authority to regulate the practice of medicine.”

The court, therefore, concluded that “the statute does not unconstitutionally deprive parents of their rights or physicians or health care providers of an alleged property right in their medical licenses or claimed right to occupational freedom. We also conclude the law does not unconstitutionally deny or abridge equality under the law because of sex or any other characteristic asserted by plaintiffs.”

This ban is due to Senate Bill 14, which was signed into law in June 2023 by right-wing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. Specifically, it bans surgery, hormone treatment, and puberty blockers for the purpose of gender transition for people under 18.

The ban went into effect September 1, 2023, but a lower court had issued a temporary injunction to block it, which led to the state appealing directly to the Supreme Court.

Dissenting with the majority decision, Justice Debra Lehrmann wrote that the court “effectively forecloses all medical treatment options that are currently available to these children. And it does so under the guise that depriving parents of access to these treatments is no different than prohibiting parents from allowing their children to get tattoos. Of course, there is nothing remotely medically necessary about tattooing… This particular parental right — to make potentially life-saving medical decisions for one’s children — certainly does not fall within the same category as tattooing, tobacco use, or even child labor.”

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