California AG Files Amicus in Support of Ruling Blocking Idaho’s Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

AG Rob Bonta

Special to the Vanguard

Oakland, CA – The chess match on Gender-Affirming Care bans continues, with 21 attorney generals including California’s Rob Bonta, filing an amicus opposing a state law in Idaho that blocks the ability of transgender youth to access critical, lifesaving gender-affirming care.

The plaintiffs in Poe v. Labrador, two transgender minors and their parents, sued to block Idaho’s House Bill (HB) 71, which criminalizes medical treatment for transgender minors seeking gender-affirming care.

After a federal district court granted a preliminary injunction against HB 71, Idaho appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The state coalition, led by Attorney General Bonta, filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, arguing that Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming care violates equal protection and stressing the importance of gender-affirming care for the health and well-being of transgender youth.

“Blocking access to gender-affirming care only serves to further marginalize vulnerable communities and put their lives at risk,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In our ongoing efforts to ensuring equal and uninterrupted medical care for everyone, we are asking the Ninth Circuit to reaffirm the district court’s decision blocking Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming care. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to safeguard the health care rights of all, regardless of gender identity.”

Many transgender teens suffer from gender dysphoria, which results from the incongruence between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth. Gender dysphoria has been found to cause severe distress and anxiety, depression, fatigue, decreased social functioning, substance misuse, and a poorer quality of life. Among transgender people, suicide attempts are nine times more common than in the overall U.S. population. Those risks are even higher among transgender youth.

Enacted in April 2023, Idaho’s HB 71 blocks transgender youth’s access to medical treatment such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers that help treat gender dysphoria. Medical providers who violate HB 71 are guilty of a felony and face up to 10 years in prison.

In the amicus brief, the coalition supports the court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction against HB 71, arguing that the law:

  • Significantly harms the health and lives of transgender people by denying them medically necessary care that protects their physical, emotional, and psychological health.
  • Is discriminatory and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by banning medical treatment for transgender youth while permitting it for cisgender youth.
  • Fails to recognize how inclusive laws and policies — such as those in California — have benefited transgender individuals.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta was joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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