Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to state laws that ban gender-affirming care for trans youth

For the first time, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in the divisive debate over transgender rights for teens. On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from the Biden administration that seeks to block state bans on gender-affirming health care.

The case challenges a law in Tennessee that restricts puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery for minors. Violators of the law can face up to $25,000, professional consequences and potential civil liability. 

Plaintiffs in the case- three transgender teens, their families and a doctor who works with transgender patients- said the law violates the Constitution’s 14th amendment, which requires that the law apply equally to all. President Joe Biden’s administration joined the case. 

“Without this Court’s prompt intervention, transgender youth and their families will remain in limbo, uncertain of whether and where they can access needed medical care,” lawyers for the teens told justices, the AP reported.

The case comes as dozens of Republican-led states have enacted a variety of bans restricting trans rights, leading to courtroom battles across the country. In May, South Carolina became the 25th state to adopt a law restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. Six of these state bans have made it a felony crime to provide certain types of best medical practices for transgender youth, according to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), a LGBTQ rights organization.

Amidst controversy, many medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have stated their support for gender-affirming care for youth, which they say rarely includes surgery. 

Arguments will be heard in the fall, with a decision likely to be made in June of next year, according to SCOTUSBlog, an independent news outlet.

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