Texas court temporarily pauses ban on gender-affirming care for minors

A judge in Texas has temporarily halted the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors in a win for the parents and LGBTQ advocates who challenged the law.

Senate Bill 14 was signed into law in June, making Texas the largest state to ban gender-affirming care for minors. It was scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 1.

The law bans people under 18 from receiving gender-affirming care like puberty blockers and hormone therapy, and orders those under 18 already receiving the care to stop taking medication “in a manner that is safe and medically appropriate.”

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law on behalf of a group of families with transgender children, saying it violates parents’ rights to make healthcare decisions for their children.

Texas District Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel agreed in her ruling, granting a temporary injunction pending a final decision on the lawsuit.

Hexsel ruled that the law is likely to violate three separate clauses of the Texas constitution, violating the rights of parents and medical professionals and discriminating against transgender adolescents.

“The Act infringes upon the Texas Constitution’s guarantees of equality under the law by enacting a discriminatory and categorical prohibition on evidence-based medical treatments for transgender youth which remain available to cisgender youth,” she wrote.

The decision was celebrated by those who pushed against the law, led by the ACLU.

“The court decision is a critical victory for transgender youth and their families, supporters, and health providers against this blatantly unconstitutional law,” ACLU of Texas attorney Brian Klosterboer said.

“Trans Texans shouldn’t have to go to court to defend their basic rights, and we will keep advocating for our clients every step of the way,” he continued.

The ACLU said they expect the Texas attorney general’s office to appeal the injunction. The Hill has reached out to the Texas AG’s office for comment.

Over 20 states have passed bans on gender-affirming care for youth, according to the Movement Advancement Project, which tracks state laws affecting the LGBTQ community.

Gender-affirming care for minors and young adults, including surgery and medication, has been endorsed by multiple major medical organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society.

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