United States District Judge for the District of Idaho, B. Lynn Winmill, has granted a motion for preliminary injunction to block the January 1, 2024 implementation of House Bill 71, which was signed into law following the 2023 Idaho Legislative session.
HB71, also called the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, was written by the Idaho Family Policy Center and sponsored by Representative Bruce Skaug. The legislation was written to stop hormone changing drugs, puberty blocking drugs, and sex-change surgeries from being prescribed for minor children in Idaho for the reasons of ‘gender dysphoria’ and transitioning children from their birth sex to the sex they identify as.
The plaintiffs in this case are described as Jane Doe, a minor child in Idaho, along with parents Joan and John Doe, as well as Pam Poe, a minor child in Idaho, along with parents Penny and Peter Poe.
Winmill explains in his order,
“The Court further finds that: (1) the medical treatments banned by HB 71 have a long history of safe use in minors for various conditions and are supported by medical evidence that has been subjected to rigorous study; (2) the medications and procedures used in gender-affirming medical care (such as puberty blockers, hormones, and mastectomies) are used to treat cisgender adolescents for other purposes; (3) gender-affirming medical care raises risks comparable to risks associated with other types of medical care families are free to seek for minors; (4)gender-affirming medical care improves the wellbeing of some adolescents with gender dysphoria, and delaying or withholding such care can be harmful, potentially increasing depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal ideation; and (5) adolescents with gender dysphoria are unlikely to later identify as their birth sex.”Advertisement
Later in the order, Winmill further describes his reasoning,
“Generally, the State Defendants say the legislature’s purpose in passing HB 71 was to protect vulnerable children from the dangers of unproven medical and surgical treatments. At a general level, safeguarding the physical wellbeing of children is of course important. … But in this case, the Court finds that the asserted objective is pretextual, given that HB 71 allows the same treatments for cisgender minors that are deemed unsafe and thus banned for transgender minors. That is, the medications and procedures that are used in gender-affirming medical care (such as puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries) are used to treat cisgender adolescents for other purposes. But rather than targeting the treatments themselves, HB 71 allows children to have these treatments—but only so long as they are used for any reason other than as gender-affirming medical care. On this point, the Court finds, as did another court faced with a similar law, that “[i]f the State’s health concerns were genuine, the State would prohibit these procedures for all patients under 18 regardless of gender identity. The State’s goal in passing [the challenged Act] was not to ban a treatment. It was to ban an outcome that the State deems undesirable.” “
The full order can be seen here:Winmill Order Dec 26 2023Advertisement
The ACLU published this press release, explaining their involvement in the Idaho case,
“The ruling came in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union; the ACLU of Idaho; Wrest Collective; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; and Groombridge, Wu, Baughman & Stone LLP; on behalf of two Idaho families asserting that HB 71, signed into law by Governor Brad Little earlier this year, violates the rights of transgender youth and their parents under the U.S. Constitution.”
The press release went on to quote Li Nowlin-Sohl, described as the Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project,
“These dangerous efforts to control our bodies and our families threaten the well-being of trans youth, the strength of our communities, and the ability of every family to determine what’s best for their child. We’re thankful the court saw the danger this law represented to our clients, and we’re determined to fight this ban until Idaho is a safe place to raise every family.”
Attorney General Raul Labrador also released a statement, saying,
“Yesterday, a federal judge preliminarily enjoined an Idaho law that protects young girls and boys from being experimentally treated with mastectomies, penectomies, puberty blockers, and other irreversible and untested treatments. The federal Court for the District of Idaho held that the U.S. Constitution forbids Idaho from banning these mutilating procedures that have been largely rejected, even in many European countries. What’s most telling is that the district court refused to follow precedent from two other circuit courts of appeals that have affirmed a state’s right to protect children from these experimental surgeries. It is hard to overstate the magnitude of the court’s error.
“The federal judiciary once endorsed the eugenics movement and forced sterilization of intellectually disabled people. Similarly, Judge Winmill’s ruling places children at risk of irreversible harm. History will not look kindly at this decision. We are taking immediate action to appeal this decision and are confident that correction will come. I will never stop fighting for and protecting our most vulnerable children,” said Attorney General Labrador.”
Blaine Conzatti, the President of Idaho Family Policy Center, spoke of decisions by other courts, and gave his prediction that this issue will eventually be looked at by the US Supreme Court.
“We’re disappointed that Winmill took the extraordinary and drastic action of striking down a duly enacted and widely popular law, but I can’t say we’re surprised. It’s worth remembering that Winmill, who was appointed to the federal judiciary by President Bill Clinton, has become notorious for his long record of naked judicial activism.
But here’s the good news: This fight is far from over. Winmill’s activist ruling will be appealed, and we’re confident that when all is said and done, the Vulnerable Child Protection will be vindicated in the courts.
And keep in mind that other federal courts—including the US Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits—have ruled that similar laws protecting gender-confused children are constitutionally sound, teeing up a likely showdown at the US Supreme Court.”
Idaho Senator Tammy Nichols weighed in on Twitter, saying,
“And this is another reason why there is a problem in Idaho, and that Idaho is not as conservative as what people think.”
Feature photo shows “de-transitioned” teen Chloe Cole speaking of her experiences with “gender dysphoria” and sex change drugs and surgeries at the Idaho Capitol in February 2023. Photo courtesy of Daniel Murphy.
Tags: ACLU, Attorney General Raul Labrador, B. Lynn Winmill, Biological Sex, Blaine Conzatti, Chloe Cole, Federal Judge, Gender Dysphoria, Gender Identity, House Bill 71, Idaho Family Policy Center, Idaho House Bill 71, Puberty Blockers, Sex reassignment, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, St. Lukes Essence Clinic, Surgery, Tammy Nichols, Vulnerable Child Protective Act