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Judge preliminarily blocks enforcement of Idaho law banning gender-affirming health care for minors

A full trans flag, with creases in it. The trans flag consists of five horizontal stripes from top to bottom: baby blue, baby pink, white, baby pink and baby blue.
Alexander Grey
/
Unsplash

An Idaho law banning gender-affirming health care treatments for transgender minors will not go into effect on Jan.1, 2024 because of a preliminary injunction issued late Tuesday night.

House Bill 71 would have blocked transgender people under the age of 18 from getting puberty blockers, hormone therapy or gender confirmation surgery. Doctors could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, according to the bill language.

In the ruling, District Court Judge Lynn Winmill ruled "the law's prohibition of hormones, puberty blockers and other medically accepted practices violates the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," according to a news release from the ACLU.

The ruling came in a case filed by:

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • ACLU of Idaho
  • Wrest Collective
  • Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Groombridge, Wu, Baughman & Stone LLP
  • On behalf of two Idaho families asserting the law violates the rights of transgender youth and their parents under the U.S. Constitution

“This victory is significant for Idaho transgender youth and their parents, and will have an immediate positive impact on their daily lives,” wrote Leo Morales, Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho, in the release. “This judicial decision is a much-needed ray of hope for trans people amid a years-long onslaught against their rights to access health care and ability to navigate the world around them. Everyone should be free to live and thrive in their authentic identity, which means transgender people should not be shut out of accessing medically sound health care.”

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador released a statement Wednesday morning, saying in a news release "what's most telling is that the district court refused to follow precedent from two other circuit courts of appeals that have affirmed a State’s right to protect children from these experimental surgeries. It is hard to overstate the magnitude of the court’s error."

You can read his full statement below:

"Yesterday, a federal judge preliminarily enjoined an Idaho law that protects young girls and boys from being experimentally treated with mastectomies, penectomies, puberty blockers, and other irreversible and untested treatments. The federal Court for the District of Idaho held that the U.S. Constitution forbids Idaho from banning these mutilating procedures that have been largely rejected, even in many European countries.

What's most telling is that the district court refused to follow precedent from two other circuit courts of appeals that have affirmed a State’s right to protect children from these experimental surgeries. It is hard to overstate the magnitude of the court’s error.

The federal judiciary once endorsed the eugenics movement and forced sterilization of intellectually disabled people. Similarly, Judge Winmill's ruling places children at risk of irreversible harm. History will not look kindly at this decision. We are taking immediate action to appeal this decision and are confident that correction will come. I will never stop fighting for and protecting our most vulnerable children."
Raúl Labrador

In Idaho, gender affirming surgeries are not performed on those under 18.

Research shows the effects of puberty blockers are largely reversible, though the patient's bone density can suffer. Cross-sex hormones can affect the patient's fertility later in life as well — all of which are explained to patients and their families prior to their administration and only with all parties' consent, according to physicians treating transgender youth.

Hello, I’m Katie and I’m a social media enthusiast here at Boise State Public Radio.

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