Fri. May 24th, 2024

Federal appeals court hears arguments on nation’s first ban on transgender care for minors

By 37ci3 Apr12,2024

ST. LOUIS — Arguments before a federal appeals court considering whether to reinstate Arkansas’ first-in-the-nation ban on sex-affirming care for minors focused Thursday on whether it and similar restrictions passed by two dozen states discriminate on the basis of sex. .

Ten judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in St. Louis heard arguments over the dispute. judge’s verdict last year struck down the ban as unconstitutional. The 2021 law would ban doctors from giving sex-affirming hormone therapy, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18.

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law on behalf of four transgender youths and their parents, said the restriction violates parents’ long-held rights to make decisions about their children’s medical care.

Chase Strangio, deputy director of transgender justice for the ACLU’s LGBTQ and HIV Project, told the court: “The government of Arkansas believed in this case that they knew better than loving parents what was best for their young children. “It burdens the long-standing right of parents to provide medical care for their children.”

At least 24 states have passed the law restrict or prohibit gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, and most of them face lawsuits. The health care restrictions are part of a larger backlash against transgender rights, affecting everything from bathrooms to participation in sports.

It drew a packed audience, including a 43-minute hearing on the Arkansas law actor Elliot Page, filed a brief asking the court to uphold last year’s verdict.

Arkansas Deputy Attorney General Dylan Jacobs argued that the law does not discriminate based on gender because it prohibits treatments for a specific purpose.

“Minors may be prescribed testosterone under this law for any purpose other than sex transition,” Jacobs said, adding that states have “broad powers” to regulate health, safety and medical ethics.

After Republican Attorney General Tim Griffin granted the request, the case went to the full court instead of a three-judge panel. The move could speed the case toward the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seeking to ban similar laws in Kentucky and Kentucky. Tennessee. All but one of the justices who heard Thursday’s arguments were appointed by Republican presidents.

Jacobs was repeatedly questioned by Judge Jane Kelly, who was appointed to the court by former President Barack Obama, about the state’s arguments that the law does not discriminate based on gender.

Judge David Stras, who was appointed to the court by former President Donald Trump, asked lawyers for both sides whether gender identity is “completely fixed” before the end of puberty, and whether that would be grounds for a ban like the one in Arkansas.

Jacobs said he implied that the Legislature’s 18-year age limit was part of his reasoning. Strangio noted that none of the treatments Arkansas bans are prescribed before puberty.

It’s unclear when the 8th Circuit will rule. Chief Justice Steven Colloton said he would rule “in due course”.

“This ongoing battle in Arkansas and across the United States is a stark reminder of the challenges we face to ensure that everyone has the freedom to access the care they need and deserve,” said the families protesting the law. hearing

U.S. District Judge Jay Moody ruled last year that Arkansas’ health care restrictions violate the due process and equal protection rights of transgender youth and families. It also ruled that it violated the First Amendment by prohibiting doctors from referring patients elsewhere for such care. Moody was temporary blocked before the law takes effect in 2021.

The ACLU also represents two medical providers. Many medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, opposed Arkansas’ ban and urged the 8th Circuit to uphold the ruling against it. A Justice Department attorney opposing Arkansas’ ban also appeared before the court.

The state has indicated it will appeal court rulings allowing Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee’s bans to go into effect. Arkansas attorneys called the care “experimental,” a decision Moody’s said was refuted by decades of clinical experience and scientific research. The state argued that Moody’s order creates a “brand new” right for parents to direct their children to receive medical care that the state does not deem safe.

The judges’ orders temporarily block similar bans in Idaho and the state Montana.

Arkansas’ ban came after the GOP majority in the Legislature exceeded It was vetoed by then-Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson. The current governor, Hutchinson’s successor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also a Republican, has said she would approve the ban and signed it last year. legislation making it easier to sue care providers for malpractice.

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By 37ci3

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