Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Tennessee Law Banning Transition Care for Minors

Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Tennessee Law Banning Transition Care for Minors

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether a Tennessee law banning certain medical treatments for transgender minors violates the Constitution.

The Biden administration had asked the justices to consider the case United States v. Skrmetti, arguing that the measure bans the treatment of gender dysphoria in adolescents and “frames that ban in explicitly gendered terms.”

In the government’s petition to the court, Attorney General Elizabeth B. Prelogar wrote that the law prohibits medical care for transgender people but leaves “completely unrestricted those same treatments when prescribed for any other purpose.”

The move means the court will address the issue of medical care for transgender youth for the first time. The justices had been debating whether to hear the appeals at their weekly private conference, but they had repeatedly postponed making a decision.

The federal courts are divided on the issue, increasing pressure on the Supreme Court to intervene.

The move comes as states across the country have pushed to restrict transgender rights. Conservative lawmakers have prioritized legislation targeting gender transition care in recent years, and at least 20 Republican-led states have passed measures restricting access to such medical care for minors.

It is also part of a broader legislative effort aimed at regulating other areas of life, including laws about which restrooms students and others can use and which sports teams they can play on.

This spring, justices temporarily allowed Idaho to enforce a state ban that restricted medical treatment for transgender youth. The law, passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, makes it a felony for doctors to provide transgender medical care, including hormone treatments, to minors.

The decision in that case, presented to the justices as an emergency petition, appeared to be largely ideologically divided, with the court’s liberals disagreeing.

In addition to Idaho, the justices were asked to comment on legislation in Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Tennessee measure prohibits health care providers from providing transitional care to minors, including puberty blockers and hormone treatments.

The Kentucky law, known as SB 150, bans doctors from performing sex reassignment surgery or administering puberty blockers or hormone therapy to anyone under 18.

In June 2023, federal judges in both states temporarily blocked the laws in separate rulings, just days before key portions of the laws were set to take effect.

Shortly thereafter, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision and reinstated the bans. Plaintiffs in Kentucky and Tennessee appealed to the Supreme Court.

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2024-06-24 14:07:57