US state sued for banning child sex changes
The US Department of Justice has sued the state of Tennessee over a recent bill banning all sex change procedures on minors. While the administration of President Joe Biden argues that the procedures are “medically necessary,” the bill’s author said they cause children “a lifetime of negative consequences that are irreversible.”
The Justice Department filed its complaint on Wednesday, according to a press release. The government is arguing that Tennessee Senate Bill 1 “denies necessary medical care to youth based solely on who they are,” and violates the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.
The bill was signed into law by Tennessee Governor William Lee last month. It forbids doctors “from performing on a minor or administering to a minor” any medical procedure “enabling a minor to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex.”
In states without explicit bans, there is no legal minimum age governing most of these procedures. Instead, doctors follow guidelines set out by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which recommend that children be given hormone-altering drugs, and that breast removal surgery be carried out on adolescents. While the NIH advises against genital surgery on minors, one major children’s hospital recently admitted – then denied – carrying out hysterectomies on teenage patients. Another facility openly stated until last year that it offered “vaginoplasty” – which involves the castration of a male patient and construction of a fake vagina – to 17-year-olds.
“These treatments and procedures have a lifetime of negative consequences that are irreversible,” Tennessee State House Majority Leader William Lamberth, who sponsored the bill, said last month.
Some 14 Republican-run states have passed bills banning “gender-affirming care” for minors, a term that transgender activists use to describe a wide range of procedures, from hormone treatment to genital surgery.
In an interview last year, President Biden described the bans as “morally wrong,” and the Justice Department wrote to all state attorneys general last March warning that they would be prosecuted if they tried to implement them. The department also filed a complaint against a similar bill in Alabama last April.
In Tennessee, Governor Lee described Wednesday’s lawsuit as “federal overreach at its worst,” adding that his state remains “committed to protecting children from permanent, life-altering decisions.”