A Texas judge on Friday temporarily blocked a new law that would ban gender-affirming care for most minors in the state.
District Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel wrote in the temporary injunction that the law would result in “loss of access to safe, effective and medically necessary treatment for transgender youth experiencing gender dysphoria.”
The legislation, the judge said, “likely violates” three different sections of the Texas Constitution, including “the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the care, custody and control of their children.”
However, the Texas Attorney General’s Office said in a news release that it had filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court that would put the ruling on hold pending its decision. CNN has reached out to the office for comment.
Texas would be the largest state in the US to enforce such restrictions if the law takes effect on September 1. Cantu Hexsel’s decision came the same day a Missouri judge declined to block a similar law allowing the state’s ban on gender confirmation care for minors to take effect Monday.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott had signed Senate Bill 14 into law in June. The measure bars health care providers from offering gender reassignment surgery, puberty-blocking drugs or hormone replacement therapy to those under 18 in Texas, with violators risking losing their licenses.
The law makes minor exceptions for children who had begun receiving nonsurgical gender-affirmation treatment before June 1 and underwent 12 or more sessions of mental health counseling or psychotherapy six months before starting prescription drug treatment. Transgender youth to whom these exceptions apply can continue their care, but must “wean” off treatment with the help of their doctor.
Alex Sheldon, executive director of GLMA, an LGBTQ+ health advocacy group and one of the parties that filed the suit, celebrated the ruling on Friday, saying, “We are strengthened by the court’s decision to protect and uphold the rights of trans youth, their families, and health care providers in Texas.”
Other plaintiffs in the suit include five families with transgender children and three doctors who provide services to transgender patients.
Gender-affirming care spans a range of evidence-based treatments and approaches that benefit transgender and non-binary people. Treatment types vary depending on the recipient’s age and goals and are considered the standard of care by many mainstream medical societies.
Although care is highly individualized, some children and parents may decide to use reversible puberty suppression therapy. This part of the process may also include hormone therapy that can lead to gender-affirming physical change. However, surgical procedures prohibited by law are typically not performed on children, and many health care providers do not offer them to minors.
Some Republicans have expressed concern about the long-term results of the treatments. But major medical associations say gender-affirming care is clinically appropriate for children and adults with gender dysphoria — a psychological disorder that can occur when a person’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth don’t match, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
This story has been updated with further developments.