The Supreme Court may soon be called to address a contentious issue — transgender surgeries and treatments for minors. This follows the decision of the Sixth Circuit to temporarily halt a lower court’s injunction against Tennessee’s ban on these procedures for children.
In the early hours of July 8, the appeals court allowed Tennessee’s prohibition on children receiving sex change surgeries, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and other similar treatments to come into effect. With various lawsuits challenging similar prohibitions across the nation and multiple cases currently being appealed in the circuit courts, this subject is likely to find its way to the Supreme Court.
According to Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow at the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, these lawsuits represent “emergency motions” where judges are asked to decide whether the state’s interest in safeguarding children’s welfare outweighs a parent’s interest in obtaining “experimental medical treatment.” Perry suggests that if another circuit court rules contrary to the Sixth Circuit’s recent verdict, implying parents have the right to pursue such treatments for their children, this could trigger a petition for an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, as Perry notes, the Supreme Court has “never held that there is an unfettered right to get experimental medical treatment for one’s children.”
Gene Hamilton, general counsel and vice president at America First Legal (AFL), believes that other courts might follow the Sixth Circuit’s example in rebuffing the radical left’s attempts to judicially enforce what they have failed to legislate. Hamilton upholds the court’s stance, commending its decision that the plaintiffs’ due process and equal protection claims, rooted more in political activism than the Constitution, were unlikely to succeed.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has instigated lawsuits over similar bans in various states, including Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kentucky. Florida’s prohibition was also contested by four families backed by multiple LGBT activist groups.
However, some cases have seen contrasting verdicts. For instance, Eastern District of Arkansas Judge Jay Moody, an Obama appointee, struck down Arkansas’ law in June, while Northern District of Florida Judge Robert L. Hinkle granted a preliminary injunction preventing Florida’s ban from being enforced against the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs often argue that “gender-affirming care” is a medical necessity to prevent mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide. However, Perry contradicts this stance, stating there are no solid data to substantiate these procedures as lifesaving care. In fact, she notes that suicidal ideation is likely to persist even after hormone or surgical interventions.
This series of battles over transgender treatments for minors is not just a legal matter, but a debate over the very values our society stands for. These challenging issues require thoughtful solutions that respect individual freedoms while ensuring the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens: our children.