Supreme Court allows Idaho to enforce gender-affirming treatment ban for minors

Idaho’s Supreme Court has allowed it to enforce its ban on a range of gender affirming treatments for minors who are transgender, while the state appeals an earlier court ruling.

Idaho is one of 24 states that have laws or policies restricting or prohibiting minors’ access to gender affirming care.

KFF reports that while some measures are on hold due to legal challenges, the majority of them are still in place.

Maya Goldman of Axios reports that some state legislatures have also sought or attempted to limit transitional care for adults.

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Context: In December, a federal judge ruled that Idaho could not enforce the rule once it went into effect on January 1, as it violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause and due process clause.

Idaho asked the Supreme Court for a reversal of the judge’s decision and to allow the law to be enforced while the state appealed.

Over 20 treatments are prohibited by the law, including hormone therapy and puberty blocking drugs. If they violate the law, doctors and pharmacists could face up to ten years in prison as well as fines.

Details: Justice Neil Gorsuch explained why he voted for the law to take effect by saying that the lower court had gone “much farther” than necessary in stopping the state from enforcing it.

Gorsuch stated that the state should only have been prohibited from enforcing law against the two plaintiffs.

The law will prohibit the treatment of minors other than the plaintiffs.

In a press release, the American Civil Liberties Union (which represents the two teens) slammed the decision, calling it “a terrible result for transgender children and their families in the entire state.”

In a dissenting view, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson stated that she believed the court’s ruling amounted “micromanaging lower courts’ use of their discretionary powers in the middle of an active litigation.”

She wrote: “This Court does not have to respond to every applicant who rushes in with an emergency. It is important that we refrain from doing this when the circumstances are novel, charged and unresolved.”

The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other major medical organizations consider this type of treatment to be medically essential and potentially lifesaving for young transgender people.”

Zoom out: the Supreme Court could soon weigh in directly on the constitutionality laws like Idaho’s.

The Biden administration urged Tennessee to reverse its ban on gender affirming care for children last year, but SCOTUS is yet to decide if it will accept the case.

Zoom out: Idaho’s current legislative session has imposed additional restrictions on gender affirming care.

Idaho Governor Brad Little signed the law in March. Brad Little (R), signed a bill that prohibits public funding for gender affirming surgeries and medications for adults and kids in the state.