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Justice Department challenges Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors

From the Tennessean: The Department of Justice on Wednesday intervened in a federal lawsuit against Tennessee over the state’s ban on gender-altering treatments for minors, asking the court to halt the law’s implementation before it takes effect on July 1.


In March, Gov. Bill Lee signed into law SB 1/HB 1, which bans gender-altering treatments for minors, such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments and surgeries. 


Children currently taking medications would have until March 31, 2024, to cycle off the treatments, under the law.


Middle District U.S. Attorney Henry Leventis said in a statement. “Left unchallenged, it would prohibit transgender children from receiving health care that their medical providers and their parents have determined to be medically necessary. In doing so, the law seeks to substitute the judgment of trained medical professionals and parents with that of elected officials and codifies discrimination against children who already face far too many obstacles.”


The American Civil Liberties Union last week sued the state on behalf of three Tennessee families. 


State lawmakers who supported the ban said the law protects children who lack the maturity to make “life-altering” medical decisions before they become adults. The law has been championed by conservative activists and was the first bill introduced in the 113th Tennessee General Assembly.

Governor Bill Lee posted on Twitter late Wednesday “Tennessee is committed to protecting children from permanent, life-altering decisions,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is federal overreach at its worst, and we will work with Attorney General Skrmetti to push back in court and stand up for children.”