Lawyers representing transgender adolescents and their parents will urge the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to reverse a lower court’s denial of an injunction of SB613, an Oklahoma law banning medical care for trans youth, at a hearing Wednesday, January 17 at 9:00 a.m. MT. The hearing can be live-streamed online here.
“Bans on gender-affirming medical care for trans youth like Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 613 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 Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Counsel and Health Care Strategist, Lambda Legal. “It is unconscionable that state officials have seen fit to interfere in healthcare decisions properly left to parents, children, and their doctors. Courts across the country have recognized these improper intrusions for what they are – dangerous, discriminatory, and unconstitutional. We look forward to making that argument before the Tenth Circuit.”
“Like the other political attacks targeting transgender youth and their families across the country, Oklahoma’s ban is a dangerous and unconstitutional affront to their freedom and their well-being,” said Harper Seldin, Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “SB 613 is openly discriminatory and an active threat to the very youth the state claims to protect, threatening to uproot families from homes they’ve known all their lives and deny life-saving medical care to transgender youth who need it. We promise transgender Oklahomans we will continue to fight this baseless restriction on their freedom to be themselves.”
“Let’s be clear: this law and the continued attacks on trans youth by Oklahoma politicians are having devastating effects on our community,” said Megan Lambert, Legal Director for the ACLU of Oklahoma. “Not only do trans youth deserve the adequate health care these laws are trying to deny them, but they have the right to access gender-affirming health care under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. While this law shamefully refuses trans people autonomy over their own bodies and independence from government control, transgender people are no strangers to baseless persecution. They have always survived on the strength of our communities and one another. This moment in our history is no different, and we will continue to grow stronger even in the face of these attacks.”
In May 2023, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and Jenner & Block LLP filed a lawsuit to oppose the law on behalf of five transgender Oklahoma youth and their parents, all of whom are filing pseudonymously. SB 613 bans all forms of gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender youth and threatens providers who violate the law with a felony conviction and discipline from their professional licensing boards. Implementation and enforcement of the ban was stayed while the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction was pending.
In October, the U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma denied the motion for a preliminary injunction and allowed the ban to take effect.
Trial courts have blocked such bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Tennessee, and Texas. In September 2023, a divided panel from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decisions in Kentucky and Tennessee and allowed those bans to take effect, while in January 2024, the Eleventh Circuit allowed Alabama’s ban to take effect following its decision from August 2023, for which a petition for rehearing before the full court remains pending.
Lambda Legal and the ACLU have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Sixth Circuit ruling.
Click here for more on Poe v. Drummond.