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Supreme Court of Texas Hears Oral Argument about the Ban of Medical Care for Transgender Youth

January 30, 2024

“Every parent in Texas deserves for their child to have access to health care when they need it, but S.B. 14 takes away that assurance of health and safety for children who are transgender. Our hope is that today, the Court heard this injustice and will take steps to rectify it, so every child in Texas, transgender or not, has the freedom to thrive.” — Brian K. Bond (he/him), CEO of PFLAG National

AUSTIN, Texas — Legal advocates representing transgender adolescents, their parents, and medical providers argued before the Texas Supreme Court today, asking the Court to affirm a lower court’s temporary injunction blocking enforcement of Senate Bill 14, an unconstitutional medical care ban targeting transgender youth. Senate Bill 14, which went into effect September 1, 2023, bans necessary and life-saving medical care in Texas for the treatment of gender dysphoria for transgender youth and requires the Texas Medical Board to revoke the medical licenses of physicians who provide the standard of care to their trans patients.

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, ACLU National, Transgender Law Center, Lambda Legal, and pro bono law firms Scott Douglass & McConnico LLP, and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP argued that Senate Bill 14 violates the Texas Constitution by depriving parents of their fundamental right to make medical decisions for their children, discriminating against transgender youth on the basis of sex and transgender status, and violating medical professionals’ right to practice their professions.

In July 2023, families and health professionals sued the State of Texas and other state defendants to block Senate Bill 14 from going into effect. In August, Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel of Travis County granted a temporary injunction to pause implementation and enforcement of the ban; however, the state defendants appealed directly to the Supreme Court of Texas, and the law went into effect on September 1.

The five Texas families with transgender children and teenagers challenging this law come from diverse backgrounds and live across the state. The bill’s passage has resulted in families splitting up or planning to leave Texas to continue treatment for their children. The families are suing pseudonymously to protect themselves and their children, who are transgender Texans between the ages of 9 and 16.

Plaintiff PFLAG National is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. Plaintiff GLMA is the oldest and largest association of LGBTQ+ and allied health professionals, including those who treat LGBTQ+ patients.

Quotes from plaintiffs and litigation team:

“This case is about upholding the constitutional rights of transgender Texans and those who care for them, including the plaintiffs in this case, and stopping the immense harm that S.B. 14 is inflicting on our state,” said Ash Hall (they/them), Policy and Advocacy Strategist for LGBTQIA+ Rights, ACLU of Texas. “Transgender youth, their families, and their doctors — not politicians and the government — should be trusted to make life-saving medical decisions together. We are deeply proud of the plaintiffs, the trans community, and the thousands of Texans who continue to push for a world where all Texans can thrive. Trans youth are loved and belong in Texas.”

“SB 14 is an openly discriminatory effort to put politicians between families, their children, and their doctors. As the lower court made clear, the ban is an affront to the rights of parents, lacks any basis in the reality of this medical care, and is a danger to the very youth it claims to protect,” said Harper Seldin (he/him), Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union. “We’re confident the Court will uphold this injunction and we won’t stop fighting this law until Texas is a safe place to raise every family.”

“Bans on medical care for trans youth like Texas’ Senate Bill 14 have real and negative consequences for transgender youth and their families. They endanger the health and wellbeing of trans youth, violate the rights of trans youth and their families, and force medical providers to disregard their oaths and well-established, evidence-based standards of care,” said Paul D. Castillo (he/him), Senior Counsel, Lambda Legal. “The Travis County District Court recognized both the real harm of SB 14 and the improper interference of the state in healthcare decisions properly left to parents, children, and their doctors. We welcomed the opportunity today to reinforce that message with the Supreme Court of Texas.”

“As we await the decision of the Texas Supreme Court, we take this moment to thank the courageous plaintiff families and organizational plaintiffs, PFLAG and GLMA, as well as the doctors, trans youth, and the hundreds of trans Texans and their allies who have shown up to rallies, committee hearings, and the Capitol to ensure trans youth can access life-saving and necessary medical care,” said Lynly Egyes (she/her), Legal Director of Transgender Law Center. “Texans of all races, genders, and backgrounds deserve access to medical care. No matter what happens in the days ahead, we will continue the fight for trans youth and their families to have the freedom to make the medical decisions that are best for them.”

“Providers in Texas have a duty to prioritize the well-being of their patients and adhere to established evidence-based practices,” said Alex Sheldon (they/them), Executive Director of GLMA. “Senate Bill 14, an affront to medical ethics, places providers in an untenable position, imposing burdensome legal restrictions that hinder their ability to practice medicine to the best of their ability. Our hope is that the Texas Supreme Court recognizes the gravity of this injustice and takes decisive action to protect the rights of transgender youth and the health professionals dedicated to their care.”

“Every parent in Texas deserves for their child to have access to health care when they need it, but S.B. 14 takes away that assurance of health and safety for children who are transgender. Our hope is that today, the Court heard this injustice and will take steps to rectify it, so every child in Texas, transgender or not, has the freedom to thrive,” said Brian K. Bond (he/him), CEO of PFLAG National.

Resources:

Any person at risk of being affected by these restrictions should reach out to:

Read a copy of the injunction here.

Access the lawsuit here.

Loe v. Texas Information


About PFLAG

PFLAG is an organization of LGBTQ+ people, parents, families, and allies who work together to create an equitable and inclusive world. We are hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of chapters from coast to coast who are leading with love to support families, educate allies, and advocate for just, equitable, and inclusive legislation and policies. Since our founding in 1973, PFLAG works every day to ensure LGBTQ+ people everywhere are safe, celebrated, empowered and loved. Learn more, find support, donate, and take action at PFLAG.org.

Media Contact

Laura McGinnis (she/her),
Sr. Manager, Press and Public Relations

[email protected]  |  (202) 864-2247