Texas Supreme Court upholds ban on transgender procedures for minors

transgender Credit: J.J. Gouin/Shutterstock

The Texas Supreme Court has upheld a state ban on performing transgender procedures on minors, ordering that the state is within its authority to outlaw extreme medical treatments for young boys and girls. 

The court said in its 8-1 ruling that the state Legislature made “a permissible, rational policy choice to limit the types of available medical procedures for children” when it passed the law last year. 

The measure prohibits doctors from performing genital surgeries and other types of surgeries on minors as a means to facilitate a “gender transition.” It also forbids doctors from prescribing puberty blockers or any other drugs to delay the normal development of puberty and forbids cross-sex “hormone therapy” for children.

The state high court had last year allowed the law to go into effect while litigation against it played out. A lower court originally blocked the legislation. 

In its Friday ruling allowing the law to be enforced, the court pointed to “the relative nascency of both gender dysphoria and its various modes of treatment,” as well as the state Legislature’s “express constitutional authority to regulate the practice of medicine.”

The state statute “does not unconstitutionally deprive parents of their rights or physicians or health care providers of an alleged property right in their medical licenses or claimed right to occupational freedom,” the justices said.

Nor does the law “unconstitutionally deny or abridge equality under the law because of sex or any other characteristic asserted by plaintiffs,” they wrote. 

The ACLU of Texas, which had sued to stop the law’s enforcement, in a press release described the law as “anti-transgender” and claimed that it “threatens the health and lives of Texas transgender youth.”

“We will continue to fight measures like [the law],” attorney Karen Loewy said in the release. “These youth and their families deserve no less.”

State Attorney General Ken Paxton, meanwhile, said on X after the ruling that the law “[protects] children from dangerous gender confusion procedures by prohibiting puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and mutilative surgeries on minors.” 

“We will always defend children in Texas from these irreversible procedures,” Paxton said. “My office will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that doctors and medical institutions follow the law.”

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