U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Medical Care for Transgender Youth

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MONDAY, June 24, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear a case on a Tennessee law that bans transgender minors from receiving certain medical treatments in that state.

The banned treatments include puberty-blocking drugs or hormonal therapies.

It's the first time the court will hear arguments regarding transitional medical care for transgender youth.

The issue is whether the new law violates the Constitutional rights of those seeking such care, according to the Biden Administration, which has asked that the court take up the case, United States v. Skrmetti.

The administration asserts that a ban prohibiting treatment for gender dysphoria in youths “frames that prohibition in explicitly sex-based terms.”

According to a petition to the court from Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, the Tennessee law bans transgender medical care but “leaves the same treatments entirely unrestricted if they are prescribed for any other purpose.”

The case has already moved through federal courts, which have rendered varying decisions.

Republican-led states around the nation have pushed for laws in recent years focused on restricting gender-transition care, and at least 20 states have passed measures that do so, the New York Times reported.

Earlier this spring, the Supreme Court justices temporarily allowed Idaho to curtail medical treatment for transgender youth, based on a state ban passed by the state's Republican-led legislature. The law makes it a felony for physicians to provide minors with transgender medical care such as hormonal therapies.

The nine Supreme Court justices passed that measure based on an emergency application, and votes appeared to split along ideological lines, the Times reported, with liberal judges dissenting.

The court is also being asked to consider a case in Kentucky, known as S.B. 150, which bans doctors from providing gender-transition surgery, puberty blockers or hormone therapy to people under 18, the Times reported.

The laws enacted in both Kentucky and Tennessee underwent a temporary hold last summer as federal judges in both states temporarily blocked the laws days before key sections were set to go into effect.

Later, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned those decisions, and the treatment bans were reinstated in each state. The plaintiffs in each case have now brought their cases to the Supreme Court, the Times reported.

More information

Find out more about transgender health care at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

SOURCE: New York Times, June 24, 2024

What This Means For You

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear its first case regarding the issue of health care for transgender youth.

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