Court Temporarily Halts Texas Minor Gender Change Law

A Texas law forbidding gender changes for minors was temporarily blocked following a decision by a state judge, followed by a legal challenge from the state. The Friday decision represents another potential legal hurdle to a number of bills passed by Republican-led legislatures which conservative supporters call protective of the rights of both children and parents.

Senate Bill 14, which was signed into law in June by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) would outlaw elective gender change treatment in the state. The law allowed for an exception for individuals born with rare medical conditions.

The law would also allow the office of the Texas Attorney General to “bring an action” to prevent the violation of its statutes. In addition, doctors would be subject to having their medical license revoked for breaking the prohibition.

Senate Bill 14 is still set to take effect on Sept. 1. Despite the court ruling, the appeal stays the court’s decision, meaning that another court decision may decide the law’s fate.

Travis County State District Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel temporarily halted the new law due to a lawsuit, writing that the act’s “prohibitions on providing evidence-based treatment for adolescents with gender dysphoria stands directly at odds with parents’ fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care of their children.”

The Texas Attorney General’s office is appealing the ruling. The office wrote that the law “prohibits hospitals from administering experimental hormones or conducting mutilative “gender transition” surgical procedures on minors.”

The appeal states that such “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.”

Furthermore, the attorney general’s office stated that it would do “everything in its power to protect children from damaging “gender transition” interventions.”

The law barring gender changes for minors also came as the Texas legislature passed a law that compels college athletes to compete within their birth gender.