SCOTUS Allows Idaho To Implement Ban On ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ For Transgender Youth

People in front of the Idaho Statehouse in 2023, in Boise, Idaho. (Darin Oswald / AP file)
People in front of the Idaho Statehouse in 2023, in Boise, Idaho. (Darin Oswald / AP file)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
6:13 PM – Monday, April 15, 2024

The attorney general of Idaho has requested that the Supreme Court lift a temporary injunction issued by a lower court that was blocking the state from enforcing its felony ban on “gender-affirming care” for adolescents.


“Gender-affirming care” includes medical, pharmaceutical, and surgical services, like hormones and gender reassignment surgery for those with gender dysphoria who wish to have an outward appearance that more closely reflects how they feel inside.

While lawsuits regarding the statute are pending, the Supreme Court overturned lower courts and permitted Idaho to implement its restriction on gender care for transgender youth on Monday.

The justices approved Attorney General Raúl Labrador’s (R-Idaho) request to limit the scope of a December district court order that had blocked the state’s prohibition.

Idaho may implement a 2023 legislation that carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence for doctors who give hormone therapies, puberty blockers, or other “gender-affirming” treatments to patients younger than 18. This is made possible by the justices’ order on Monday. 

The Vulnerable Child Protection Act of Idaho was blocked by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in December. According to him, “gender-affirming” healthcare “is safe, effective, and medically necessary for some adolescents,” provided that it is delivered in compliance with standards established by groups like the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

In January, Labrador filed an appeal against Winmill’s ruling, however, it was rejected in a single sentence by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Labrador’s second appeal was refused by the same three-judge bench for the whole 9th Circuit to reestablish the injunction. 

Labrador argued that lower courts cannot stop states from enforcing laws against those who are not directly involved in litigation, and he asked the Supreme Court to take emergency action in February to allow Idaho to do so.

On Monday, the Supreme Court declared its agreement. 

“Ordinarily, injunctions like these may go no further than necessary to provide interim relief to the parties. In this case, however, the district court went much further, prohibiting a State from enforcing any aspect of its duly enacted law against anyone,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote on Monday. 

The court’s three liberal justices disagreed with the decision, asserting that the legislation should have remained blocked completely.

In an emailed statement, Labrador did not directly reply to Monday’s decision, however, he stated that Idaho “has a duty to protect and support all children.”

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of drugs and procedures used on children with gender dysphoria,” he stated. “And it’s a preventable tragedy.” 

The plaintiffs’ legal representatives, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Idaho, referred to Monday’s decision as “an awful result for transgender youth and their families across the state.” 

“Today’s ruling allows the state to shut down the care that thousands of families rely on while sowing further confusion and disruption,” the groups explained in a statement. “Nonetheless, today’s result only leaves us all the more determined to defeat this law in the courts entirely, making Idaho a safer state to raise every family.”  

Providing “gender-affirming” medical care to minors is now considered a felony in Idaho, making it the second state after Alabama to do so. The offense carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.

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