The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the national ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the Transgender Law Center said Thursday they will file a lawsuit against a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth that Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to sign into law.
The Texas Senate Wednesday approved the House version of Senate Bill 14, sending it on to Abbott, a far-right Republican. He told Fox News Thursday that he would sign the bill. “I’m not going to make any secret about it. I’ll be signing it,” he said. “This is about protecting children.”
SB 14 would ban puberty blockers, hormone treatment, and gender-affirming surgeries for trans Texans under 18. Genital surgeries are almost never performed on minors, in any case. It would require those already taking hormones or puberty blockers to gradually end the treatment. It would go into effect September 1. Violation would bring revocation of a medical provider’s license.
In a joint statement, the organizations said that they were filing the legal challenge to "protect transgender youth in Texas from being stripped of access to health care that keeps them healthy and alive."
The groups also referred to the state's attempt to classify such care as child abuse last year.
“[Texas lawmakers] are 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 as appropriate and necessary," the groups said. "Transgender youth in Texas deserve the support and care necessary to give them the same chance to thrive as their peers. 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.”
Similar restrictions in Alabama and Arkansas have been enjoined by federal courts, and legal advocates have filed challenges in federal court to bans enacted in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Montana. A state court judge in Missouri recently blocked enforcement of the Missouri attorney general’s emergency order blocking provision of gender-affirming care. The attorney general has now withdrawn that order, but the legislature has approved a ban that Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign into law.