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Idaho's ban on gender-affirming care for minors is now in place

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect Monday
Posted at 6:42 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-17 14:01:29-04

Editor's Note: This article was edited to add information on exceptions to the law

As of this week, medical professionals are no longer allowed to provide minors in Idaho with puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or gender transition surgeries to treat gender dysphoria. The ban stems from House Bill 71, also known as the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which was passed last year. The law has since been challenged in court for its constitutionality. The U.S. Supreme Court declared on Monday that the ban could take effect while the case is still being decided.

  • The Attorney General's office tells Idaho News 6 the ban goes into effect immediately. They say it's up to local prosecutors on how to enforce the ban.
  • A St. Luke's representative tells Idaho News 6 their doctors who provide gender affirming care will now have to refer their patients out of state for continuing care. St. Luke's says they anticipate an increase in mental health needs for impacted patients and they have counseling and support for those individuals.
  • The law outlines an exception for children born with a medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

Over a year after it was signed into law by Governor Brad Little, Idaho's ban on gender-affirming care for minors can now be enforced. The ban prohibits doctors from providing hormone therapy, puberty blockers or gender transition surgery to minors in the state.

"My immediate reaction was shock," said Liliana Rauer. a 17-year-old transgender high school student. Rauer says she's been out publicly for two years, expressing her identity with her name and how she dresses.

"I have not undergone any medical transition yet," she added.

That was going to change until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to lift the block on the ban while they decide on the case. For Rauer, it was unfortunate timing. "I had an appointment next Tuesday," she said.

Back in December, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law violates the 14th Amendment and blocked its enforcement. On Monday, the highest court overturned that ruling.

In a statement on Monday, Raul Labrador, who appealed the decision, said: "The state has a duty to protect and support all children, and that's why I'm proud to defend Idaho's law that ensures children are not subjected to these life-altering drugs and procedures."

But Rauer said that she and her family aren't looking to wait, regardless of obstacles.

"Right now we're going to be looking into options for going out of state for health care, which is costly and a headache to do," she said.

Rauer said getting an appointment is difficult, with many other Idahoans now in the same situation, but it won't deter her. "We're a very strong community and we can get through anything, although it is very hard," she said.