A federal appeals court has ruled that both Tennessee and Kentucky can enforce laws that would protect children and teens struggling with gender confusion from receiving puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and mutilating irreversible surgeries.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a preliminary injunction last Thursday allowing Tennessee and Kentucky to uphold laws that would bar sex-change surgeries and hormone interventions for minors.
"In addition to sharing a border, Kentucky and Tennessee share an interest in regulating the medical treatments offered to children suffering from gender dysphoria. Tennessee was the first of the two States to regulate the treatments," Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton wrote.
"State governments have an abiding interest 'in protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession'...and 'preserving and promoting the welfare of the child,'" he continued.
Under SB 150, Kentucky will ban experimental gender procedures, including genital-mutilating surgeries for minors, and it allows a person to bring a civil action against healthcare providers until that minor reaches the age of 30.
In Tennessee, SB 1 also bans puberty blockers, hormones, and mutilating surgeries for minors. And it allows a minor injured by violations, or the parent of the minor, to bring civil action against health care providers up until 30 years after the minor reaches 18 years of age.
In the 2-1 ruling, the three-judge panel also rejected a challenge brought on by families of gender-confused children who argued that the previous bans discriminated on the basis of sex.
"No one in these consolidated cases debates the existence of gender dysphoria or the distress caused by it. And no one doubts the value of providing psychological and related care to children facing it," Sutton wrote in his opinion.
He continued, "The question is whether certain additional treatments—puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and surgeries—should be added to the mix of treatments available to those age 17 and under. As to that, we return to where we started. This is a relatively new diagnosis with ever-shifting approaches to care over the last decade or two. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for anyone to be sure about predicting the long-term consequences of abandoning age limits of any sort for these treatments."
Senior Judge Helene N. White authored the dissenting position arguing that the laws "discriminate based on sex and gender conformity and intrude on the well-established province of parents to make medical decisions for their minor children."
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver applauded the court's decision.
"The Sixth Circuit has rightly ruled that Kentucky and Tennessee are free to protect children from these horrible procedures that have devastated many young lives. Our children are not social experiments," he said.
As CBN News reported in August, a federal appeals court vacated a judge's temporary hold on an Alabama law that blocks harmful and experimental drugs and surgeries on kids struggling with their gender identity.
Alabama's Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act would penalize doctors and healthcare providers with up to 10 years in prison or a $15,000 fine, or both, if they prescribe puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to a person under the age of 19.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the ruling reinforced the state's authority to "safeguard the physical and psychological wellbeing of minors."
"Alabama takes this responsibility seriously by forbidding doctors from prescribing minors sex-modification procedures that have permanent and often irreversible effects," Marshall said. "This is a significant victory for our country, for children, and for common sense."
The battle to protect minors continues internationally, as well.
More nations in Europe are halting so-called "trans-affirming care" for minors to safeguard children.
Last year, England shut down its only dedicated gender identity clinic specifically for children and young people following reports such treatments are "not safe."
Meanwhile, Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare updated its treatment guidelines for children exhibiting symptoms of gender dysphoria, admitting that "care has been characterized by both deficiencies in accessibility and a lack of knowledge about the results of the care."
And one of Australia's largest medical insurers is now refusing to cover private practitioners who are prescribing gender-transitioning procedures.