UTAH

High court decision may impact transgender-related medical treatment for Utah minors

Jun 24, 2024, 6:21 PM | Updated: 7:10 pm

Demonstrators in support of trans rights gathered outside the Utah Capitol in early 2024. (Aimee Co...

Demonstrators in support of trans rights gathered outside the Utah Capitol in early 2024. (Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio)

(Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a case that could impact the law that bans transgender-related medical treatment for minors in Utah.

The court will look at whether or not these bans are constitutional.

The Supreme Court case comes after Tennessee banned all medical treatments prescribed to help minors transition.

The argument from opponents is that this violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Utah passed a similar law in 2023. SB16 prohibits treatments for minors who weren’t already taking things like hormone blockers when the law went into effect.

“We formed a good policy that will stand”

The bill’s sponsor State Senator Michael Kennedy hopes Utah’s law would not be impacted by any decision from the Supreme Court.

“We formed a good policy that I think will stand in spite of whatever the Supreme Court does with the Tennessee law,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy also said there are many differences between the two laws.

“Because the Tennessee law is an outright ban on all of the care. Ours was more nuanced,” Kennedy said.

We banned the dangerous and irreversible surgeries on these children. But we allowed those that were in the middle of care — the parents, doctors and patients — had agreed they could continue with the care they were receiving. While new entrants were banned or barred from entering into new care.”

Twenty-five states in total have some sort of ban on transgender-related medical treatment for minors. Those include puberty-blocking medications, hormone therapies and surgical procedures.

Helping kids in Utah

Community advocate Sue Robbins, who is now retired from Equality Utah, said she is unsurprised the court took up this issue.

“I suspect they felt they had to take it up, even though most of the federal district courts found that it violated the 14th Amendment, the District Court that’s over Tennessee did not,” Robbins said.

“So we’ll have to see whether they rule narrowly, or whether they come in with a larger rule.”

Related: Why two Republicans voted against bill banning transgender-related surgery

Robbins said if the court decides these bans are unconstitutional, it could help a lot of kids in Utah.

“It’s a stressor for our kids that they are unable to get the care they want,” Robbins said. “Just the puberty blockers keep them from going through a puberty that is harmful, stressful and anxiety-driving to them.”

She said she’s hopeful that a ruling could throw out Utah’s law.

Attorneys will present arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court sometime this fall.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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High court decision may impact transgender-related medical treatment for Utah minors