Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Citing 'parental rights,' federal judge temporarily blocks Idaho law banning gender-affirming care for trans kids

Here we go 'round the mulberry bush again.

 Another federal judge has temporarily blocked a bill banning gender-affirming care for trans kids just when it was about to become law. But this one is interesting. In blocking the bill, the judge cited 'parental rights, which is the argument used recently by conservatives to undermine LGBTQ rights and safety.

 From ABC News:

 A federal judge has preliminarily blocked an Idaho law banning gender-affirming healthcare treatments for transgender people under 18 years old. The law was set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and would have made it a felony to provide such care. 

District Court Judge Lynn Winmill ruled Wednesday that the law’s restrictions violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

 "Transgender children should receive equal treatment under the law," Winmill stated in his decision. "Parents should have the right to make the most fundamental decisions about how to care for their children." 

 He continued, "Time and again, these cases illustrate that the Fourteenth Amendment’s primary role is to protect disfavored minorities and preserve our fundamental rights from legislative overreach ... and it is no less true for transgender children and their parents in the 21st Century." 

 HB 71 was signed into law by Governor Brad Little in April. The law bans puberty blockers -- which allow children to explore their gender identity and pause the growth of permanent sex characteristics -- hormone therapies, as well as surgeries. Physicians interviewed by ABC News have said that surgeries on adolescents are rare and only considered on a case-by-case basis. The legislation provides an exception for children with "medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development," also known as intersex.

 Any medical professional convicted of providing such care could be convicted of a felony and imprisoned in the state prison for up to 10 years, according to the law's text. 

 At least 20 states have implemented restrictions on access to gender-affirming care, many of which have faced legal challenges. The law in Arkansas, the first legislation of its kind in the U.S., was also ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.