Court allows Tennessee ban on gender-affirming care for minors to take effect immediately – Mother Jones – News Block

Teens from various areas of Kentucky gather in front of the Kentucky Capitol Annex building on March 29, 2023 to protest SB150, which would ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender teens. Marcus Dorsey/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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Tennessee bans gender affirmation health care for transgender minors may go into effect, at least for the time being.

In late June, a district court suspended a ban on minors receiving care such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy, arguing that the restrictions in the bill, which Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed in March, were unconstitutional because they discriminated on grounds of sex

But on Saturday, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit temporarily reversed the lower court’s ruling until the appeals court can complete its full review of the ban and appeal, filed by the state’s Republican attorney general. The high court said it hopes to finish this review by the end of September.

In the meantime, the ban will take immediate effect. Medical providers caught providing gender-affirming hormones, puberty blockers or gender-affirming surgery to minors in the state face fines of $25,000 per violation. The law also allows lawsuits to be brought against the parents of a minor “if the minor’s parent consented to the conduct that constituted the violation on behalf of the minor.” (Children who already received prescriptions before the law went into effect must stop treatment by March 2024.)

“This ruling is beyond disappointing and a heartbreaking development for thousands of transgender youth, their doctors and their families,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, one of the advocacy groups challenging the ruling on behalf of several people, said. including a family. with a trans child “As we and our clients consider our next steps, we want all transgender youth in Tennessee to know that this fight is far from over and we will continue to defy this law until it is permanently defeated and Tennessee becomes a safer place to raise everyone. . family.”

Saturday’s ruling marks the first time a federal appeals court has allowed a ban on gender-affirming care to take effect. The ruling deviates from other recent federal rulings on this type of care. As my colleague Madison Pauly recently noted, a federal judge struck down an Arkansas law that prohibited gender-affirming care for children in late June, pointing to evidence that “prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients.” ”. Judges in Florida, Indiana and Kentucky have also granted temporary injunctions in recent weeks that will keep some types of gender-affirming health care available to trans minors while court challenges continue. (The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which just allowed Tennessee’s ban to go into effect temporarily, said Saturday it will issue a final ruling on Kentucky’s pending ban when it issues its final appeal decision on the Tennessee ban).

The justices who allowed the Tennessee ban to take effect invoked positions that the majority of the Supreme Court took in their decision to strike down Roe vs. Wade in 2022, relegating the power to regulate abortion to individual state legislatures. The various advocacy groups representing the plaintiffs in the Tennessee gender-affirming care case “have failed to demonstrate that the right to new medical treatments is ‘deeply embedded in our history and traditions,’ and therefore beyond of the democratic process of regulation,” the judges wrote. .

Because these judges do not consider gender-affirming care to be rooted in American history, despite a decades-long history of trans health care availability in the US, they seem to argue that state legislative bodies, in rather than individual humans, are responsible. to make decisions about whether children have access to vital health care.

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