Court Allows Tennessee to Enforce Ban on Transgender Care for Minors

by Madison Thomas
transgender care ban

Tennessee’s prohibition on gender-affirming care for transgender minors has been granted temporary permission to take effect, following a recent decision by a federal appeals court. The ban, which includes therapies such as hormone blockers and surgeries, was previously deemed unconstitutional by a district court judge in Tennessee due to its discriminatory nature based on sex. However, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, in a 2-1 ruling, has allowed the state to proceed with the ban, citing the importance of legislative involvement in determining policy matters concerning transgender care.

While this ruling is interim and subject to further review by the appeals court, Chief Judge Jeffrey Sutton emphasized the need for extensive debate on such crucial matters, particularly regarding the long-term well-being of children experiencing gender dysphoria. Tennessee’s attorney general, Jonathan Skrmetti, hailed the decision as a significant victory, but acknowledged that the case is ongoing.

Notably, Tennessee is among 20 states that have recently implemented restrictions or outright bans on gender-affirming care for minors. While federal judges in Indiana and Kentucky have halted the enforcement of similar laws, an Arkansas judge has struck down the ban in that state.

Although dissenting opinions exist among judges on this issue, the ruling from the Sixth Circuit stands for now. However, Judge Helene White, while agreeing that the Tennessee law is likely unconstitutional, suggested that her ruling should have been limited to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, rather than applying statewide.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed disappointment with the ruling and affirmed its commitment to continue challenging the law alongside its Tennessee chapter and two law firms. The federal government has also initiated its own legal challenge against the Tennessee law.

Tennessee’s law prohibits healthcare providers in the state from offering hormone treatments or surgeries to transgender youth when the purpose is to allow the child to express a gender identity that does not align with their reproductive system’s inherent characteristics.

The passage of this law was supported by Tennessee’s Republican-dominated General Assembly and received some backing from Democratic lawmakers. Allegations that Vanderbilt University Medical Center prioritized profit in establishing its transgender health clinic played a role in shaping the legislative response, with videos surfacing of a doctor discussing the financial gains of gender-affirming procedures and a staff member suggesting resignation for those with religious objections.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about transgender care ban

What is the recent development regarding transgender care for minors in Tennessee?

The recent development in Tennessee is that a federal appeals court has temporarily reversed a lower court ruling, allowing Tennessee to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

What did the district court judge in Tennessee rule previously?

The district court judge in Tennessee ruled that the state’s ban on transgender therapies for minors was unconstitutional because it discriminated based on sex. The judge blocked certain portions of the law from taking effect.

What is the reasoning behind the appeals court’s decision to reverse the lower court ruling?

The appeals court majority stated that decisions on emerging policy issues like transgender care are typically better suited for legislatures rather than judges. They believe that these matters should be subject to more debate and discussion.

Is the ban on transgender care for minors in Tennessee now fully in effect?

Yes, the ban can now be fully enforced, according to Tennessee’s attorney general. However, this ruling is preliminary and will undergo a full review by the appeals court. The goal is to resolve the case by September 30.

How does this ruling in Tennessee compare to other states?

Tennessee is one of at least 20 states that have recently implemented bans or restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors. However, federal judges in Indiana and Kentucky have blocked similar laws, while a judge in Arkansas struck down that state’s ban.

Are there any ongoing challenges to the Tennessee law?

Yes, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the federal government have filed their own challenges to the Tennessee law. They aim to continue opposing the ban until it is permanently defeated.

What is the basis of the Tennessee law banning transgender care for minors?

The law prohibits healthcare providers in the state from offering hormone treatments or surgeries to transgender youth when the purpose is to allow them to express a gender identity that is inconsistent with their reproductive system’s characteristics.

What were the allegations made against Vanderbilt University Medical Center?

Vanderbilt University Medical Center was accused of prioritizing profit when establishing its transgender health clinic. Videos emerged showing a doctor discussing the financial benefits of gender-affirming procedures, and a staff member suggesting that those with religious objections should quit.

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Parent4Equality July 9, 2023 - 1:03 am

I support the ban on transgender care for minors. Kids should have the opportunity to explore their gender identity without medical interventions that could have long-term consequences.

JohnDoe_123 July 9, 2023 - 4:55 am

tHIs is ridiculas!! Y shuld judgess say wat kids can or canot do?? let da legislaters do their job!

HealthcarePro July 9, 2023 - 6:44 am

As a healthcare provider, I believe it’s crucial to provide gender-affirming care for transgender youth. It can have a positive impact on their mental health and overall well-being.

Luv2Debate July 9, 2023 - 7:28 pm

I think it’s a complicated issue, and both sides have valid points. But it’s important to prioritize the well-being and rights of transgender youth.

TransRightsAdvocate July 9, 2023 - 7:50 pm

This ruling is a setback for transgender rights. We must keep fighting to ensure that transgender youth have access to the necessary care and support they deserve.

InclusiveAllies July 9, 2023 - 8:22 pm

It’s disheartening to see laws that discriminate against transgender youth. We should be promoting acceptance, understanding, and access to comprehensive healthcare for all individuals.


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