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Texas Supreme Court upholds law banning sex-change surgeries for minors

The Texas State Supreme Court upheld a law which bans transgender healthcare for minors in an 8-1 ruling on Friday, ensuring that Texas youths are unable to receive hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and sex-change surgeries.

“We conclude the Legislature made a permissible, rational policy choice to limit the types of available medical procedures for children, particularly in light of the relative nascency of both gender dysphoria and its various modes of treatment and the Legislature’s express constitutional authority to regulate the practice of medicine,” Justice Rebeca Aizpuru Huddle wrote in the court’s decision.

Justice Debra Lehrmann, the one dissenter, wrote in her opinion that the law was “cruel” and “unconstitutional” and said that such “treatment could be lifesaving.” Critics of the law claimed that the move to limit minors’ access to transgender care was “devastating.”

“Our government shouldn’t deprive trans youth of the health care that they need to survive and thrive,” Ash Hall, LGBTQIA+ policy advocate at Texas’s American Civil Liberties Union said. “Texas politicians’ obsession with attacking trans kids and their families is needlessly cruel.”

Texas’s ACLU also said that the ruling “placed trans youth, their families, and the medical professionals who care for them in harm’s way.” The law prohibits children under the age of 18 from receiving what activists label “gender-affirming care.” Children who have already started treatment must now be weaned off of medications in a “medically appropriate” way.

The state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton, who this month sued the Biden administration over a federal rule that would require states to subsidize transgender healthcare, praised the court’s decision.

“Today, the Texas Supreme Court upheld SB 14, a law protecting children from dangerous gender confusion procedures by prohibiting puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and mutilative surgeries on minors,” Paxton said on X. “We will always defend children in Texas from these irreversible procedures. My office will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that doctors and medical institutions follow the law.”

Republican Texas governor Greg Abbott signed the bill, which prevents minors from sterilization surgery, into law last year.

“We are the Legislature — our job is to protect people,” state Sen. Bob Hall (R.) said at the time. “We protect children against lots of things. We don’t let them smoke. We don’t let them drink. We don’t let them buy lottery cards. . . . And so we are doing the right thing.”

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