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Supreme Court Allows Idaho’s Gender-Affirming Care Ban — For Now

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Updated Apr 15, 2024, 05:53pm EDT

Topline

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Idaho to enforce a controversial ban on gender-affirming care to minors as the law is appealed, temporarily reintroducing one of more than a dozen state bans on gender-affirming care, an increasingly hot-button issue for the GOP.

Key Facts

The Supreme Court approved a stay on a federal District Court decision, allowing Idaho to enforce the ban, with the high court’s conservative justices forming the majority opinion and its three liberal justices dissenting.

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes three months after a U.S. District Court upheld a lower court’s preliminary injunction blocking state officials from enforcing the law, with the federal court finding the Republican-backed law violated the 14th Amendment protections of due process and equal protection under the Constitution.

Surprising Fact

The Supreme Court carved out an exception in its ruling on Monday, prohibiting enforcement of the law against the plaintiffs who challenged the state law, including two teenage transgender girls and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho.

Key Background

Idaho’s law was signed into law last April, among a string of similar state laws around the country targeting transgender medical care. Idaho’s ban specifically prohibits the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy, as well as gender affirmation surgery, making it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison for providers who administer gender-affirming care to residents under the age of 18. While those treatments have been supported by a slate of major medical groups, such as the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, GOP lawmakers in Idaho have largely called for the ban. While Gov. Brad Little, R-Idaho, signed the bill into law and advocated for “protecting minors from surgeries or treatments that can irreversibly damage their healthy bodies,” he has also cautioned against “allowing the government to interfere with loving parents and their decisions about what is best for their children.”

Chief Critic

The ACLU of Idaho in a joint statement with the ACLU criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in a statement calling the ruling an “awful result for transgender youth and their families across the state.” The groups added: “Today’s ruling allows the state to shut down the care that thousands of families rely on while sowing further confusion and disruption.”

Further Reading

ForbesIndiana Becomes 14th State To Ban Gender-Affirming Care-Despite GOP Governor's Concerns About 'Vagueness'
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