Judge Blocks Idaho Law Protecting Kids From Transgender Procedures
Hand of nurse preparing arranging medical surgical tools on tray wearing latex gloves protective workwear for safety in surgery operation room in hospital with medical professional doctor nurse.
Credit: FangXiaNuo via Getty Images.

A federal judge this week blocked an Idaho law protecting kids from transgender surgeries, claiming that it likely violated the 14th Amendment. 

Federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill temporarily blocked the enactment of an Idaho law passed earlier this year that bans procedures like double mastectomies on girls who identify as boys and giving children puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador said that he would immediately challenge the ruling, which blocks the law until a lawsuit filed against the law is resolved. 

“The federal judiciary once endorsed the eugenics movement and forced sterilization of intellectually disabled people. Similarly, Judge Winmill’s ruling places children at risk of irreversible harm. History will not look kindly at this decision. We are taking immediate action to appeal this decision and are confident that correction will come. I will never stop fighting for and protecting our most vulnerable children,” Labrador said in a statement. 

Winmill sided with two families with children after they sued the state to stop enforcement of the law, under which doctors could face up to ten years in prison for giving children life-altering transgender surgeries or hormonal procedures. 

“Time and again, these cases illustrate that the 14th Amendment’s primary role is to protect disfavored minorities and preserve our fundamental rights from legislative overreach,” Winmill said. “That was true for newly freed slaves following the Civil War. It was true in the 20th century for women, people of color, inter-racial couples, and individuals seeking access to contraception. And it is no less true for transgender children and their parents in the 21st century.”

The judge said that his decision was not “anti-democratic” because the 14th Amendment was intended to stop laws that violated equal protection. 

“The authors of the 14th Amendment fully understood and intended that the amendment would prevent state legislatures from passing laws that denied equal protection of the laws or invaded the fundamental rights of the people,” Winmill said. 

The law prohibits surgeries “that sterilize or mutilate, or artificially construct tissue with the appearance of genitalia that differs from the child’s biological sex” as well as the removal of the breasts of girls who identify as boys. Additionally, it blocks the administration of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones, which can impact bone development, fertility, and heart health.


In a statement, the ACLU of Idaho, which helped back the lawsuit, celebrated the decision. 

“This judicial decision is a much-needed ray of hope for trans people amid a years-long onslaught against their rights to access health care and ability to navigate the world around them. Everyone should be free to live and thrive in their authentic identity, which means transgender people should not be shut out of accessing medically sound health care,” ACLU of Idaho executive director Leo Morales said. 

Over 20 states across the country have passed legislation shielding kids from transgender procedures. While some judges have blocked implementation of the measures, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Tennessee’s law earlier this year.

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