Tuesday 25 June 2024

Supreme Court Agrees To Consider State Ban On Transgender Medical Procedures For Children

 The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to Tennessee’s ban on transgender medical services for children.

The justices will weigh an appeals court ruling that upheld the state’s ban on puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender surgery for minors.

The court will take up the case during its next term, which starts in October and ends in June of next year.

Depending on the ruling, the decision could affect not only Tennessee’s ban but other state bans on the same transgender medical interventions for minors.

More than 20 states with Republican-led legislatures have similar bans.

This is not the first time the high court has waded into the raging controversies around trans-identifying minors. In April, the court allowedIdaho to enforce its ban on transgender medical interventions for minors except on the two teenagers who sued over the law.

However, the court has avoided many other previous opportunities to get involved in the culture war issue.

The plaintiffs in the Tennessee case, which include trans-identifying teens and their families, claim the state’s ban violates the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which requires that everyone is equally treated under the law, by preventing them from accessing medical treatments that are available to others. They also claim the ban violates parental rights to make health care decisions for their children.

So far, federal appeals courts have been divided on whether state bans on these transgender medical interventions for children are unconstitutional.

In the Tennessee case, a federal district judge initially blocked the ban. Then the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals combined the Tennessee case with a similar case out of Kentucky and ruled in favor of the bans.

“This is a relatively new diagnosis with ever-shifting approaches to care over the last decade or two. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for anyone to be sure about predicting the long-term consequences of abandoning age limits of any sort for these treatments,” wrote Jeffrey Sutton for the 6th Circuit.

The Biden administration then joined the lawsuit against Tennessee and urged the Supreme Court to take up the case, saying the court’s opinion was “urgently needed” since the confusion among federal courts has resulted in “profound uncertainty.”

“Absent this Court’s review, families in Tennessee and other States where laws like SB1 have taken effect will face the loss of essential medical care,” the Justice Department wrote in a petition to the Supreme Court.

Both puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones come with serious health risks. Puberty blockers can affect bone growth and density and cause sexual dysfunction, voice damage, and infertility, among other issues. Cross-sex hormones can cause infertility, deadly blood clots, heart attacks, increased cancer risks of the breasts and ovaries, liver dysfunction, worsening psychological illness, and other serious conditions.

Gender surgeries like phalloplasty, vaginoplasty, and double mastectomy are irreversible and often come with serious complications.

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