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Texas’ ban on gender-affirming care will take effect Friday following state Supreme Court ruling

 LGBTQ+ activists protest against Senate Bill 14 at the state Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Demonstrators rally in the Capitol rotunda ahead of a May 2 vote on a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors.

A Texas law that bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth will go into effect as scheduled Friday.

The law will kick in despite a state district judge’s ruling last week that the law, Senate Bill 14, is likely unconstitutional and discriminates against transgender youth. That decision came after several families, advocacy groups and medical doctors filed a lawsuit to stop the act.

It was temporarily placed on hold, but the Texas Attorney General’s office quickly appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, which ruled early Thursday the law will be in effect until a final resolution is reached.

“The Supreme Court of Texas has denied appellees' emergency motion for temporary relief in State of Texas v. Loe, allowing SB14 to go into effect on Sept. 1. The direct appeal in this case remains pending before the Court,” the state’s high court posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Under the law, transgender people under 18 years old would be barred from accessing puberty blockers and hormone therapies, two of the most common forms of gender-affirming care.

These treatments are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the Texas Pediatric Society, and the American Board of Pediatrics as best practices for care.

The measure would also ban transition-related surgeries, although they are rarely performed on minors. Doctors who provide this type of care to transgender youth would have their licenses revoked.

The law was one of the most controversial from the state’s recent legislative session that ended in May. It was just one of more than 1,000 bills lawmakers passed this year.

The legal groups that represented the plaintiffs include Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said in a joint statement the state supreme court’s action places transgender youth and their families in peril but vowed to continue fighting the legislation.

“The fight is far from over. In its ruling, the district court clearly articulated the ways in which S.B. 14 likely violates the Texas Constitution by infringing upon the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, infringing upon Texas physicians’ right of occupational freedom, and discriminating against transgender adolescents with gender dysphoria because of their sex, sex stereotypes, and transgender status,” the statement reads. “We couldn’t agree more, and look forward to continuing this fight.”

Copyright 2023 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

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