Texas judge temporarily blocks law banning gender-affirming care for minors News
naeimasgary / Pixabay
Texas judge temporarily blocks law banning gender-affirming care for minors

Texas District Court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel temporarily blocked SB 14, which bans gender-affirming care for minors and restricts children already taking gender-affirming prescription drugs, from going into effect on Friday. The case is in the District Court of Travis County, Texas. 

The ACLU of Texas represents the plaintiffs. In response to the ruling, attorney for the ACLU of Texas Brain Klosterboer stated:

The court decision is a critical victory for transgender youth and their families, supporters, and health providers against this blatantly unconstitutional law. As Texans, we believe that each one of us should have the freedom to be ourselves and have access to best-practice medical care that we need for ourselves and our children without facing cruel discrimination or bullying designed as policy. Trans Texans shouldn’t have to go to court to defend their basic rights, and we will keep advocating for our clients every step of the way.

Hexsel temporarily blocked the law after finding a “substantial likelihood” that the plaintiffs would prevail on the merits of their claim. Hexsel found that the law likely violates Article I, Section 19 of the Texas Constitution because it infringes on the fundamental rights of parents to make decisions concerning their children. Additionally, Hexsel concluded that the law likely violates the same section because it infringes on Texas physicians’ right to occupational freedom. Lastly, Hexsel found that the law likely violates Article I, Section 3 and 3a of the Texas Constitution because it discriminates against transgender adolescents because of their “sex, sex stereotypes, and transgender status.”

Furthermore, Hexsel found that the plaintiffs would suffer “probable, imminent, and irreparable injury” if the state is not immediately blocked from enforcing the law. Hexsel noted several harms, including losing access to “safe, effective, and medically necessary treatment for transgender adolescents.” The injunction expires upon a judgment in the case.

SB 14 says that child health plans may not provide coverage for services intended to “transition a child’s biological sex as determined by the child’s sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous profiles.” Additionally, the law makes it unlawful for healthcare providers to provide gender-affirming care if the care is for the purpose of transitioning the child or “affirming the child’s perception of the child’s sex if that perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex.” This includes gender-affirming surgeries and prescribing gender-affirming drugs. Physicians can lose their license for performing unlawful gender-affirming care.

The Texas Attorney General already appealed the injunction to the Texas Supreme Court. Under Texas law, direct appeals to the Texas Supreme Court are allowed when a district court grants an injunction on the grounds of the constitutionality of a state statute. In response to the injunction, the Office of the Texas Attorney General stated:

This year, the Texas Legislature passed SB 14, a law that prohibits hospitals from administering experimental hormones or conducting mutilative “gender transition” surgical procedures on minors. These unproven medical interventions are emphatically pushed by some activists in the medical and psychiatric professions despite the lack of evidence demonstrating medical benefit, and even while growing evidence indicates harmful effects on children’s mental and physical welfare.