Supreme Court Emergency Motion: Idaho Can Protect Children from Genital Mutilation and Sterility

Idaho passed a law called the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which bans so-called gender care for minors that involves genital mutilation surgery and drugs that could render them sterile.

The law was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2024, but two boys pretending to be girls wanted to keep taking estrogen. They, along with their parents, filed a lawsuit against Idaho to stop enforcement of the law.

In the case Labrador v. Poe, a court blocked the law from taking effect. The case is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The state filed an emergency motion in the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay pending appeal.

Alliance Defending Freedom announced that the high court has granted the motion. The court will allow the law to be enforced generally, but not against the parties who sued the state.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the concurring opinion, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joining. The court disagreed with the lower court’s ruling to block enforcement for everyone instead of limiting the injunction to the parties who sued.

“Among other things, this meant Idaho could not enforce its prohibition against surgeries to remove or alter children’s genitals, even though no party before the court had sought access to those surgeries or demonstrated that Idaho’s prohibition of them offended federal law,” Justice Gorsuch wrote (PDF).

The district court’s order would have suspended the law indefinitely, and the case could have taken years to conclude. Meanwhile, children would have faced irreversible damage.

Raúl Labrador, Idaho’s attorney general, said he’s “witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of drugs and procedures used on children with gender dysphoria. And it’s a preventable tragedy. The state has a duty to protect and support all children, and that’s why I’m proud to defend Idaho’s law that ensures children are not subjected to these life-altering drugs and procedures.”

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