The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Tennessee’s recently-signed law that bans gender-affirming care for minors, alleging the law violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the bill banning the care last month, making it just one of a number of Republican-led states that have taken similar action. The Biden administration is challenging the law in federal court. The DOJ called the Tennessee measure a “ law that denies necessary medical care to youth based solely on who they are.”
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“The complaint alleges that SB 1’s ban on providing certain medically necessary care to transgender minors violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause,” the DOJ said in a release on Wednesday.
The DOJ argued the law violates the equal protection clause because it prohibits transgender youth from accessing some “medically necessary” care while allowing others access to the same or similar care.
“No person should be denied access to necessary medical care just because of their transgender status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
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Major medical associations agree that the type of care being targeted by a number of Republican-led states is appropriate for adults — and kids — who have gender dysmorphia, which is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “clinically significant distress or impairment related to gender incongruence”
At least 11 Republican-led states have total or partial bans on gender-affirming care for minors, according to an ABC News analysis.
The law in Tennessee states that minors cannot be held accountable for receiving the care but parents and legal guardians could face legal action if violating the state’s ban. It also allows the state’s attorney general to fine healthcare providers for providing care.