Appeals court allows ban on gender-affirming care for minors to take effect in Tennessee

Tennessee will be allowed to implement its ban on gender-affirming care for minors after an appeals court overturned a lower court order stopping the ban.

The state ban was supposed to go into effect July 1, but a federal judge halted its implementation, siding with the American Civil Liberties Union, which said the law interferes with parents’ rights to choose the necessary medical care for their children.

The law prohibits gender-affirming care, including hormone therapy, puberty blockers and gender-affirming surgery on minors.

Two of the three appeals panel justices decided to reinstate the law, saying decisions about transgender care were best left to state legislatures rather than judges.

“Given the high stakes of these nascent policy deliberations — the long-term health of children facing gender dysphoria — good government generally benefits from more debate than less,” Chief Justice Jeffrey Sutton wrote.

“Both sides have the same fear, just in opposite directions – one saying the procedures create health risks that cannot be undone, the other saying the lack of such procedures creates risks that cannot be undone. can be cancelled. What makes the choice between the two camps bearable is the realization that not all choices are made by the judges,” he added.

The challenge to the law will continue while the law comes into force. If the court upholds the ACLU’s appeal, the law will again be struck down.

“This decision is beyond disappointing and a heartbreaking development for thousands of young transgender people, their doctors and their families,” the ACLU of Tennessee said in a statement.

“As we and our clients consider our next steps, we want all young transgender people in Tennessee to know that this fight is far from over and we will continue to challenge this law until it is finally defeated and that Tennessee becomes a safer place to raise every family.”

Gender-affirming treatments like hormone therapy and puberty blockers are generally considered safe and have been endorsed by major medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Endocrine Society.

About 20 states have passed laws prohibiting medical care.

Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming care was overturned last month by a federal judge on the merits, saying the ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

Bans in Alabama, Florida, Indiana and Kentucky were also broken by the court. On Friday, Kentucky’s attorney general appealed the court’s decision ending his state’s ban.

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