Idaho’s Supreme Court Battle Over Gender-Affirming Care for Minors and 14th Amendment

On Monday, the Supreme Court finally announced they will be addressing state laws that ban gender-affirming care for minors and determine whether these laws violate the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. 

Scope of the Laws

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Right now, state laws, such as those in Idaho and Missouri, impose severe penalties on providers of gender-affirming care, including long prison sentences and substantial fines. 

10 Years in Prison

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Idaho’s law holds one of the worst penalties for any state, with up to 10 years in prison for physicians who provide gender-affirming care for minors​.

Far From Conclusive 

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Proponents of these laws argue that research on gender-affirming care is far from conclusive and that minors lack the maturity to make these serious medical decisions​​.

Defending Iowa Law

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds defended such laws by arguing these treatments are simply too new and inconclusive to be subjecting children to them.

What’s Being Done to Kids

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 Governor Reynolds said, “We need to understand what these emerging therapies actually may potentially do to our kids. 

Doing What She Believes Is Right

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Reynolds continued, “My heart goes out to them… But I have to do what I believe right now is in the best interest of the kids.”

Life-Saving Treatment

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Opponents of gender-affirming care bans for minors, including medical professionals, argue that gender-affirming care is crucial for the well-being of transgender youth and can provide a life-saving treatment. 

Sit and Watch

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Dr. James Kroll discussed with AAMC News how difficult his experience has been as they are forced to sit and watch as kids suffer from experiences he could treat. 

Unable to Provide Care

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Kroll said, “It’s terrible to know what people need to live authentically, what kids need to be healthy and sometimes even to save their lives, but not be able to provide that care.”

Implications for Medical Practice

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Given this circumstance, healthcare providers face significant ethical dilemmas due to the restrictions that force them to choose between state laws and medical guidelines that support gender-affirming care. 

Delaying Care

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While it may sound easy enough to delay care until the child reaches adulthood, according to the most recent medical guidelines, this is a potentially dangerous strategy to employ. 

Early Intervention

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Studies say delaying care until adulthood can have irreversible physical and psychological effects on transgender youth, making early intervention essential​.

A Doctor’s Concern

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Dr. Sarah Lynch of the North Idaho Pride Alliance expressed her concern about these new laws to Coeur d’Alene Press.

Medical Uncertainty

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Dr. Lynch said, “This decision allows the state to cease healthcare that thousands of families currently rely on, while also continuing to sow misinformation, confusion and disruption through medical uncertainty.”

State Injunctions

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The Supreme Court’s ruling will also address whether courts can issue broad injunctions against state laws after Idaho’s court temporarily blocked enforcement to protect individual plaintiffs​.

Gorsuch Criticism

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After the Idaho case, Justice Neil Gorsuch criticized broad injunctions for transforming small disputes into wide-ranging referenda on state laws and complicating the state’s judicial processes and state governance​​.

Rising Bills

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As states await the Court’s decision, the number of proposed bills restricting gender-affirming care continues to rise due to a growing legislative focus on this issue​​.

Free Speech Cases

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In the majority of these lawsuits, they target protections for LGBTQ+ rights; they focus on free speech and claim of religious freedom.

Increasing Legislative Efforts

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Nationwide, there has been an increase in legislative efforts to limit the rights of LGBTQ+ people, including access to gender-affirming care and participation in sports.

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The post Idaho’s Supreme Court Showdown: Battle Over Gender-Affirming Care for Minors and 14th Amendment first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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