The United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee over its recent bill banning sex change procedures on minors. The Biden administration has argued that puberty blockers and hormone treatments are medically necessary, while the bill’s author claims that these procedures can cause irreversible harm to children. The government is accusing Tennessee of violating the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibits discrimination based on who someone is. The bill forbids doctors from performing or administering any medical procedure that would enable a minor to identify with or live as a gender identity that is inconsistent with their biological sex.
This lawsuit comes amidst a national debate over the rights of transgender individuals, particularly minors, to access gender-affirming medical care. While some 14 Republican-run states have passed bills banning such care for minors, President Biden has criticized these bans as morally wrong.
As it stands, there are no federal regulations specifying a minimum age for gender-affirming medical procedures in the United States. In states where there are no explicit bans on such procedures, doctors typically adhere to guidelines provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These guidelines recommend hormone treatment for children, and breast removal surgery for adolescents as part of gender-affirming medical care. While the NIH does advise against genital surgery on minors, there have been reports of certain medical facilities carrying out procedures such as hysterectomies on teenage patients. Additionally, until recently, some facilities openly offered vaginoplasty, a procedure that involves removing the testicles and constructing a vagina out of existing genital tissue to 17-year-olds.
Tennessee Governor William Lee has described the lawsuit as “federal overreach at its worst” and maintains that his state is committed to protecting children from permanent, life-altering decisions. This lawsuit is likely to further fuel the already contentious debate over transgender rights and medical ethics in the United States. Earlier, tech billionaire Elon Must suggested life in prison for child sterilization.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen how this issue will be resolved, but it is clear that it will continue to be a topic of heated debate in the years to come.
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