Texas Supreme Court Refuses to Block Law Banning Health Care for Texas Trans Youth

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
June 28, 2024 11:07 am

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AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Supreme Court today reversed a lower court ruling blocking enforcement of Senate Bill 14, permitting the anti-transgender law to remain in effect.

The law allows the state of Texas into decisions that properly lie with parents and their minor children, threatens the health and lives of Texas transgender youth, and penalizes physicians who provide the best standard of care for their transgender patients to remain in effect.

The court ruled against five Texas families with transgender youth, three medical providers, and two national organizational plaintiffs who filed the original challenge to S.B. 14 in July, concluding that the law is constitutional and that the plaintiffs are powerless to challenge it.

“It is impossible to overstate the devastating impact of this cruel and arbitrary ruling on Texas transgender youth and the families that love and support them,” said Karen Loewy, senior counsel and director of constitutional law practice, Lambda Legal. “Instead of leaving medical decisions concerning minor children where they belong, with their parents and their doctors, the Court here has elected to let politicians – in blatant disregard for the overwhelming medical consensus – determine the allowed course of treatment, threatening the health and the very lives of Texas transgender youth. We will continue to fight measures like SB14. These youth and their families deserve no less.”

“This decision by the Texas Supreme Court allows the suffering caused by S.B. 14 to continue across the state,” said Ash Hall (they/them), policy and advocacy strategist for LGBTQIA+ rights at ACLU of Texas. “Our government shouldn't deprive trans youth of the health care that they need to survive and thrive — while offering that exact same health care to everyone else. Texas politicians’ obsession with attacking trans kids and their families is needlessly cruel. We will not back down until our trans youth have the health care they deserve and our state is a welcoming place to all.”

“The court’s decision to reject safe and affirming care will have lasting impacts on all people in Texas,” said Lynly Egyes (she/her), legal director at Transgender Law Center. “S.B. 14 goes against trusted medical advice and is a strain on transgender youth, their families who love them, and the providers who support them. All Texans, no matter what they look like or the neighborhood they live in, should know that we will continue to work alongside our partners to fight for the rights of trans Texans and their families.”

“The Texas Supreme Court got it wrong today by ruling against families, against doctors, and against Texas’s future: our kids. Every Texan, transgender or not, deserves the freedom to access the healthcare they need when they need it,” said Brian K. Bond (he/him), CEO of PFLAG National. “To transgender Texans of all ages, PFLAG has your back. We’re going to continue to fight to ensure you are safe, celebrated, affirmed and loved.”

“We are profoundly disappointed by the Texas Supreme Court's decision to uphold a ban rooted in prejudice and discrimination against trans youth,” said Alex Sheldon (they/them), GLMA executive director. “This ruling not only endangers the lives of these vulnerable individuals but also dismisses significant medical evidence supporting their care. Today, the trans community was abandoned by the very institutions designed to protect them, and health professionals were denied their ability to perform their duties based on the best scientific evidence available, free from political interference. This fight is far from over. We will continue to challenge unjust measures like S.B. 14 and to defend the rights of all trans youth to access the essential care they need and deserve.”

Senate Bill 14 bans necessary and life-saving medical care in Texas for the treatment of gender dysphoria for transgender youth and requires the Texas Medical Board to revoke the medical licenses of physicians who provide the best standard of care to their transgender patients.

In July 2023, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, ACLU National, Transgender Law Center, and the pro bono law firms of Scott Douglass & McConnico LLP, and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP, sued to block enforcement of the ban on behalf of five families with transgender children, and two national organizational plaintiffs, PFLAG and GLMA. In August, Travis County District Court granted a temporary injunction to pause enforcement of the ban, however, the state defendants appealed directly to the state Supreme Court, and the law went into effect on Sept. 1.

The five Texas families with transgender children and teenagers challenging this law come from diverse backgrounds and live across the state. The bill’s passage had resulted in families splitting up or planning to travel out of Texas to continue medically necessary treatments for their children. The families are suing pseudonymously to protect themselves and their children, who are transgender Texans between the ages of 10 and 17.

The medical provider plaintiffs work for a large Texas children’s hospital and had been forced to stop providing treatments they know are medically necessary for their transgender patients or risk losing their medical licenses.

Plaintiff PFLAG National is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ people and those who love them. Plaintiff GLMA is the oldest and largest association of LGBTQ and allied health professionals, including those who treat LGBTQ patients.

Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court of Texas can be found here.

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