Defenders of children against mutilative surgeries and risky hormone treatments scored a huge victory Thursday. A federal appeals court with a 2-1 vote allowed Kentucky and Tennessee to proceed with their respective bans on so-called “gender-affirming” care for kids.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a significant blow to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ruling denied the group’s request for a preliminary injunction that would clear the way for gender reassignment surgeries and administering puberty blockers to continue.
The majority opinion injected common sense into the nonsensical issue.
"This is HUGE. Our ban on child mutilation has been upheld."
— Jenny 1776🇺🇸 (@realouMAGAgirl) September 29, 2023
The majority wrote, “The concept of gender dysphoria as a medical condition is relatively new and the use of drug treatments that change or modify a child’s…characteristics is even more recent.”
They further stated that federal judges should not clear these “high-stakes medical policies” without specific guidance from the Constitution.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote that “gender-affirming” care for minors is a shifting field. “Under these circumstances, it is difficult for anyone to be sure about predicting the long-term consequences of abandoning age limits of any sort for these treatments.”
In her dissent, Judge Helene White said the Tennessee and Kentucky laws “intrude” on the established rights of parents to make medical decisions for minor children.
There are conflicting rulings on the issue across the nation. A similar law in Alabama was upheld by the 11th Circuit, but federal district courts in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Indiana rejected their state’s statutes banning this “care.”
Leaders in Tennessee and Kentucky celebrated the ruling. Tennessee Attorney Gen. Jonathan Skrmetti posted his reaction on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Tennessee’s law that protects children from irreversible gender-related medical interventions remains in effect.”
Attorneys for families who brought the Tennessee suit, which included the ACLU and Lambda Legal, called the decision “devastating.” They claimed it will cause “serious harm” to transgender youth and their families and said they are mulling over their next legal steps.
The ruling on the Kentucky law came just a month before its key gubernatorial election. The race pits Republican Attorney Gen. Daniel Camerson, who supported the law, against Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.
He vetoed the law only to see his act overruled by the state legislature.
The court ruling is a milestone in the fight to protect children from irreversible mutilations and sterilizations. That such a concept is even debated shows how far the nation has slipped.