August 17, 2023
Women’s, Healthcare, and Human Rights Organizations Urge 6th Circuit to Reinstate Block on Transgender Health Bans in TN, KY
Friend-of-the-court brief argues bans on access to care for transgender adolescents constitute sex discrimination and are subject to heightened scrutiny, which the laws fail
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Campaign for Southern Equality, and eleven other women’s, healthcare and LGBTQ+ organizations filed an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief in the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit urging reinstatement of the court order preventing enforcement of transgender healthcare bans for adolescents in Tennessee and Kentucky while the legal challenges to those bans continue.
The brief argues that Tennessee and Kentucky state laws prohibiting doctors from providing healthcare to transgender adolescents discriminate on the basis of sex, and are therefore subject to heightened judicial scrutiny. These bans target transgender adolescents to deny them care, even when they, their doctors, and their parents agree it is essential for their health. Such laws reflect hostility and serve only to harm young people.
The Sixth Circuit panel’s order allowing the Tennessee and Kentucky bans to go into effect despite pending legal challenges means transgender adolescents can’t get the care they need and their parents are blocked from acting in their children’s best interests.
The Sixth Circuit is an outlier among courts to consider laws denying healthcare access to transgender adolescents. District court judges in seven states to consider such bans, including Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals have found in preliminary proceedings that such bans violate the constitutional rights of transgender people and cause immediate, irreparable harms. A federal judge in Arkansas, the first to issue a final ruling, has now blocked that state’s ban permanently.
The amici are organizations committed to ensuring everyone, including women and LGBTQ+ people, can access the healthcare they need. In addition to GLAD and NWLC, the organizations joining the friend-of-the-court brief are Campaign for Southern Equality, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Human Rights Campaign, Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, National Center for Transgender Equality, OUTMemphis, Southern Legal Counsel, Southern Poverty Law Center, Tennessee Equality Project, Trevor Project, and White Coats for Trans Youth. The brief was filed by Jenner & Block LLP.