Texas Supreme Court Upholds Ban On Gender-Affirming Care For Minors

In a decisive 8-1 ruling, the Texas Supreme Court has upheld the state’s ban on puberty blockers, hormone therapy and other “gender-affirming” treatments for minors. The decision, delivered on Friday, supports Senate Bill 14, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2023, which restricts various medical interventions for transgender children.

The ruling rejected claims from parents who argued that the ban infringes on their right to seek medical care for their children. The court’s opinion stated, “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.”

The court further noted that the statute does not unconstitutionally deprive parents, physicians, or healthcare providers of their rights. It clarified, “The statute does not unconstitutionally deprive parents of their rights or physicians or healthcare providers of an alleged property right in their medical licenses or claimed right to occupational freedom.”

Senate Bill 14 specifically bans the use of hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and surgeries for transgender minors. The legislation came into effect in September 2023, following the lifting of a temporary injunction by the Texas Supreme Court, which had been issued after a district judge ruled that the law violated the rights of transgender children and medical professionals.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton lauded the Supreme Court’s decision, emphasizing the state’s commitment to protecting children. “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 wrote on social media. “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.”

The ruling is seen as a significant victory for proponents of the ban, who argue that such medical interventions are too experimental and potentially harmful for minors. Critics, however, contend that the law infringes on personal freedoms and the rights of parents and medical professionals to make decisions in the best interest of transgender youth.