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U.S. Supreme Court allows Idaho's ban on gender-affirming care to go into effect

Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman on

Published in News & Features

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors can go into effect, overruling a lower court while the long-term constitutionality of the state’s law is still being litigated.

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador asked the high court to allow the ban to go into effect in February, after a federal judge in Idaho temporarily paused the law in December. Judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently denied Labrador’s request that they overrule the lower court judge, which led him to appeal to the conservative-dominated Supreme Court.

On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect while a lawsuit works its way through the legal system. The court’s three liberal judges dissented with the decision.

Idaho’s law makes it a felony to provide puberty blockers, hormone treatments or transition-related surgeries to children.

While many major medical organizations recommend hormone treatments and other health care for minors with gender dysphoria, conservatives in states around the country have pushed to ban the care.

The ruling on Wednesday allows the two Idaho transgender teenagers who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit to continue receiving care, but will prohibit minors not part of the lawsuit from doing so in Idaho.


”I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of drugs and procedures used on children with gender dysphoria,” Labrador said in a statement.

The Republican attorney general said people with gender dysphoria deserve support and medical care “rooted in biological reality.”

“Denying the basic truth that boys and girls are biologically different hurts our kids,” he said.

In December, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill communicated that the ban was likely unconstitutional, arguing that the 14th Amendment’s protections for minorities that in the past have applied to freed slaves, women and others extend to protect transgender children.


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