Texas’ ban on gender-affirming care for minors goes into effect today, making it the largest state to pass such a measure in service of the right’s draconian efforts to legislate trans youth out of existence.
SB 14 bars almost all minors from receiving common forms of gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy. Although exceptions are being made for intersex minors, kids who are already receiving treatment for gender dysphoria will be forced to be “weaned off” their medications, according to CBS Texas. Under SB 14, healthcare providers who continue to provide these services to trans youth will have their licenses revoked.
On August 25, state District Judge Maria Cantú Hexse had ruled against the law, siding with five families, three medical providers, and two LGBTQ+ organizations who jointly sued the state of Texas in July, arguing that SB 14 violates Texas’ state constitution. In her ruling, Hexsel noted that the law “interferes with Texas families’ private decisions” regarding trans children’s medical care, as well as doctors’ ability to follow “well-established, evidence-based” medical guidelines.
In response, the Texas attorney general office — led by Angela Colmenero in place of the impeached Attorney General Ken Paxton — filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, which automatically paused the judge’s injunction. Following the state’s appeal, the plaintiffs filed an emergency request asking the Texas Supreme Court to temporarily block the law again. However, the court denied their request on August 31, allowing SB 14 to take effect.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, with Texas joining 19 other states that have adopted laws or policies restricting gender-affirming care for minors, more than one-fifth of trans youth now live in states that have passed such laws.
The ACLU of Texas condemned the court’s Thursday decision in a statement, declaring that “the fight is far from over.”
If the challenges to gender-affirming care bans in other states are any indication, the ACLU couldn’t be more correct. In June, a federal judge ruled that Arkansas’ ban on transition-related care for minors was unconstitutional because it violates the equal-protection rights of trans kids and their families. Federal judges have also blocked similar laws from going into effect in Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee, although legal action later allowed the Tennessee and Kentucky laws to go into effect.
“[Texas’] district court clearly articulated the ways in which S.B. 13 likely violates the Texas Constitution,” the ACLU of Texas’ statement continued. “We couldn’t agree more, and look forward to continuing this fight.”
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