Legislation /

Texas Supreme Court Permits Sex Change Restrictions for Minors to be Enforced

The Supreme Court allowed Senate Bill 14 to be enforced amid a pending legal challenge

Texas Supreme Court Permits Sex Change Restrictions for Minors to be Enforced

Texas can enforce its restrictions on the forms of medical intervention doctors are permitted to offer minors who identify as transgender following a ruling from the state’s Supreme Court.

The new law will officially take effect on Sept. 1. The Court’s decision comes less than a week after a Travis County district judge issued an injunction.

A group of families with transgender-identifying children sued Texas to prevent Senate Bill 14 from going into effect after the state legislature passed it. SB 14 bars minors who experience gender dysphoria or who identify as transgender from being given hormone therapies and genital alteration surgeries, including hysterectomy, vaginoplasty, and penectomy.

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and the Transgender Law Center have backed efforts to prevent SB 14 from being enforced.

In a joint statement in May, the groups said Texas was “hellbent on joining the growing roster of states determined to jeopardize the health and lives of transgender youth, in direct opposition to the overwhelming body of scientific and medical evidence supporting this care.

“Transgender youth in Texas deserve the support and care necessary to give them the same chance to thrive as their peers,” said the LGBTQ advocacy groups. “Medically necessary health care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, and live authentically as themselves. We will defend the rights of transgender youth in court, just as we have done in other states engaging in this anti-science and discriminatory fear-mongering.”

District Judge Maria Cantu Hexsel ruled in favor of the families on Aug. 25. Cantu wrote that the law "stands directly at odds with parents' fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care of their children.”

The evidence before the Court does not support the conclusion the Act protects the health or wellbeing of minors,” said she wrote. “Instead, the evidence demonstrates that the Act threatens the health and wellbeing of adolescents with gender dysphoria.”

The state appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to intervene and stay the ruling.

The Texas Attorney General’s office said SB 14 “prohibits hospitals from administering experimental hormones or conducting mutilative ‘gender transition’ surgical procedures on minors.”

“These unproven medical interventions are 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,” the office wrote in a message on Aug. 25. The OAG 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 Supreme Court overruled Cantu on Aug. 31. 

That Court denied the plaintiffs’ motion to reinstate the injunction while the appeal remains pending, allowing the law to take effect on schedule,” the Texas Attorney General’s Office said in a statement on Sept. 1. 

The Texas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on November 28. 

*For corrections please email [email protected]*