DOJ to states: Bans on transgender youth health care are unconstitutional
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday filed court documents saying recently passed laws in Arkansas and West Virginia restricting transgender rights are unconstitutional.
The legal briefs, shared on Twitter by The Huffington Post, argue that the state laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
DOJ filed two statements of interest today regarding the rights of transgender youths: One in West Virginia involving the rights of a transgender student athlete, the other in Arkansas against the state ban on gender-affirming medical care. pic.twitter.com/VtLtF0Cmd4
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) June 17, 2021
The DOJ called the Arkansas law “dangerous governmental intrusion.” One of the provisions in the state law prevents doctors from performing gender reassignment surgeries.
“Rather than rely on the judgment of medical professionals and evidence-based treatment guidelines, Arkansas has inserted itself within one of the most confidential and personal of relationships: the physician-patient relationship,” the DOJ wrote.
The DOJ went on to say that under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, individuals have the right to nondiscriminatory access to health care.
The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ObamaCare, was upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday in a 7-2 ruling.
The Arkansas bill was vetoed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in April, but the state legislature voted to override his veto and enact the measure.
The DOJ took a similarly harsh tone in its court filing against West Virginia’s law regarding transgender girls participating in youth sports.
“The United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including students who are transgender, can participate in an educational environment free of unlawful discrimination,” the brief states. “This includes ensuring that recipients offer equal athletic opportunities to students regardless of their sex.”
The DOJ said West Virginia’s law violates both the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX.
Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed West Virginia’s measure into law in April.