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Idaho filed an emergency motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to allow the state to enforce its ban on transgender procedures and medical intervention for minors. 

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, with the assistance of attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom and Cooper & Kirk, asked the nation's highest court to narrow a lower court’s order to cover only the two transgender teens and their families challenging the state's ban. They asked the Supreme Court to allow Idaho to otherwise enforce its law to protect the roughly 2 million other minors in the state from what they deemed "harmful and experimental drugs and procedures."

Although the lawsuit by the transgender teens and their families, filed with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, only challenged certain parts of the law known as the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, a lower court stopped Idaho from enforcing its entire law state-wide, prohibiting the state "from even protecting children under age five from drugs and surgeries that disfigure their bodies and stop their natural development," Labrador's office noted.

"I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of drugs and procedures used on children with gender dysphoria, and it’s a preventable tragedy," Labrador said in a statement announcing the emergency motion Monday. "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. Those suffering gender dysphoria deserve love, support, and medical care rooted in biological reality. Denying the basic truth that boys and girls are biologically different hurts our kids. No one has the right to harm children, and, thankfully, we as the state have the power – and duty – to protect them."


Idaho governor COVID news conference

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed the Vulnerable Child Protection Act last year. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

In the motion for a stay in Labrador v. Poe, the attorney general said the district court’s sweeping injunction "hamstrings Idaho’s ability to protect its citizens from well-recognized harms."

"Every day Idaho’s law remains enjoined exposes vulnerable children to risky and dangerous medical procedures and infringes Idaho’s sovereign power to enforce its democratically enacted law. These procedures have lifelong, irreversible consequences, with more and more minors voicing their regret for taking this path," the motion said. 

"The Plaintiffs both want access to a single procedure, but the injunction applies to all 20+ procedures that the VCPA (the Vulnerable Children Protection Act) regulates," the motion added.  "The Plaintiffs are two minors and their parents, and the injunction covers 2 million."

Pro-trans protesters at Idaho state capitol

Protesters gather in front of the Idaho Capitol for what they called "anti-transgender legislation" moving through the legislature in February 2023 in Boise. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed the Vulnerable Child Protection Act into law last April, making it a felony punishable by up to a decade in prison and $5,000 in fines for doctors and other health care providers to administer treatments including puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries to young people. The state attorney general's office said the law would be, "protecting children from dangerous and often irreversible drugs and procedures that block natural development and remove healthy body parts." 


Two transgender teens and their families sued the state, arguing the legislation violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and "overrides medical decisions made by parents in consultation with their children’s doctors, about the care of their children." 

ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Leo Morales said when the bill was signed into law that it is "discriminatory," and "criminalizes safe, effective, and necessary healthcare for Idaho youth."

In December, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill granted a preliminary injunction, blocking the law from taking effect on Jan. 1. Winwill cited the World Professional Association of Transgender Health and the Endocrine Society as having said such medication intervention "is safe, effective, and medically necessary for some adolescents," The Hill reported. 

Labrador at the Capitol during his time in Congress

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, walks down the House steps following votes in the Capitol on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Now, as the Idaho attorney general, Labrador is defending the state's ban on transgender surgeries for minors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Idaho Attorney General's Office appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court in January, arguing that the law be allowed to take effect while the case proceeds, but the Ninth Circuit denied the request in two orders. A three-judge panel denied Labrador's first request in just one sentence. Labrador asked for the full court to review the matter, but the same panel shot him down a second time. 

Idaho is now appealing to the Supreme Court.


"Idaho’s law rightly supports children’s natural biological development, ensuring children experiencing gender dysphoria have a chance for comprehensive healing and compassionate mental health support," ADF Vice President of Litigation Strategy and Center for Conscience Initiatives Jonathan Scruggs said. "Respected authorities continue to assert that the overwhelming majority of children will naturally resolve their dysphoria as they mature. And there is no reliable scientific evidence that these dangerous transition procedures improve mental health. That’s why countries like Sweden, England, and Finland – which once recommended these procedures for children – are now restricting them and protecting children from the devastating effects these procedures have had on countless lives. Idaho should be free to enforce its law."