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US Supreme Court agrees to hear major transgender youth case

By AFP

June 24, 2024 10:19 PM


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The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a case touching on the deeply divisive issue of gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

The court will hear arguments in its next term on the constitutionality of a Tennessee ban on treatments for transgender minors, which could have repercussions for similar state bans across the country.

About 20 US states have put in place laws restricting transgender medical care, also called gender-affirming care, for minors, as the issue has become a hot-button topic for conservatives in recent years.

Such treatments include taking certain medicines, such as hormonal puberty blockers, as well as surgeries.

Puberty blockers have been used in young teens contemplating gender transition to delay the onset of unwanted physical changes.

Advocates say surgeries for minors are extremely rare and that gender-affirming care can be lifesaving for children struggling with gender dysphoria.

Some medical groups say puberty blockers can be medically necessary, while others have voiced increasing concerns about safety.

President Joe Biden's administration asked the Supreme Court to rule on Tennessee's ban after it was upheld last year by a federal appeals court.

The Democratic president's Justice Department argues that Tennessee's ban violates the US Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, since it denies transgender people access to treatments otherwise permitted to others.

The Supreme Court waiting to take up the case would "needlessly leave transgender adolescents and their families in limbo and inflict particularly acute harm in Tennessee and other States where these laws have taken effect," Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued in the appeal.

She said states "cannot justify a categorical ban on medical treatments supported by the overwhelming consensus of the medical community."

In April, the conservative-dominated Supreme Court allowed a similar statewide ban to come into effect in Idaho while legal challenges proceed.

Under the Idaho law, medical professionals who provide treatments to minors including puberty blockers, hormone therapy or surgery can face up to 10 years in prison.

The Supreme Court's next term begins in October 2024.


AFP


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