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The Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a state law prohibiting doctors from performing sex-change treatments and surgeries on minors can go into effect on Friday after the attorney general’s office appealed a judge’s temporary injunction.
Last week, Texas District Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel temporarily blocked a Republican-led bill banning medical providers from administering puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones or performing surgical procedures on minors. The law also prohibits using state dollars to fund such procedures for children.
Hexsel said the law “infringes upon the Texas Constitution’s guarantees of equality under the law by enacting a discriminatory and categorical prohibition on evidence-based medical treatments for transgender youth.”
But the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately filed an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court that placed the judge’s order on hold, arguing that such medical interventions are “unproven” and “emphatically pushed by some activists in the medical and psychiatric professions despite the lack of evidence demonstrating medical benefit, and even while growing evidence indicates harmful effects on children’s mental and physical welfare.”
Paxton’s office said in a news release that it will “continue to enforce the laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature and uphold the values of the people of Texas by doing everything in its power to protect children from damaging ‘gender transition’ interventions.
The state’s Supreme Court order did not expand further about its decision to allow the law to take effect or disclose whether it believes the ban is unconstitutional. It’s set to go into effect September 1.
Governor Greg Abbot (R-TX) signed the bill into law in June, making Texas the largest state to protect children from life-altering transgender procedures. With Abbott’s signature, the Lone Star State joined more than 20 other states that have banned transgender surgeries for minors, with many prohibiting both surgical and chemical procedures.
The legislation took a while to get through both chambers of the Texas legislature as Democrats used parliamentary tactics to stall it. Democrat State Rep. Shawn Thierry voted for the bill, citing scientific evidence showing the long-term impacts of transgender procedures.
Thierry said in a statement that she voted to ban minors from receiving “GnRH-analogs, (i.e. “puberty blockers”), cross-sex hormones, and to undergo irreversible surgeries when experiencing gender dysphoria” after speaking with constituents and “reviewing the scientific data in this country and around the globe.”
Attorneys from left-wing legal groups, like Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Texas, filed a lawsuit last month in state court seeking to block the law on behalf of five Texas families, three medical professionals, and two organizations.
The lawsuit argued that the state law violates parents’ rights to provide such medical treatment for their children, discriminates against children based on sex and “transgender status,” and violates healthcare providers’ rights to practice medicine.
“Transgender people have always been here and will always be here,” Ash Hall of the ACLU of Texas said. “Our trans youth deserve a world where they can shine alongside their peers, and we will keep advocating for that world in and out of the courts.”
The law comes after a report alleged that a children’s hospital in Houston performed transgender procedures on children as young as 11.
According to whistleblower documents obtained by City Journal’s Christopher Rufo, Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the U.S., inserted an implantable puberty blocker in multiple children, including at least one 11-year-old.
Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.