The Louisiana legislature on Tuesday voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill that will protect children from experimental gender treatments—demonstrating exactly what the polls show: Americans aren’t buying radical gender theory.
That’s encouraging, but it’s not nearly as relevant as a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling a couple of weeks ago, which allowed a similar Tennessee law to go into effect. By addressing the arguments at work here—not just the optics—the Court noted that “sound government usually benefits from more rather than less debate, more rather than less input, more rather than less consideration of fair-minded policy approaches.”
And that’s relevant because in Texas, opponents of our own Senate Bill 14 will be making the same legal arguments—arguments the Sixth Circuit has squarely addressed (and refuted). More importantly, it recognizes that unelected judges and bureaucrats shouldn’t be making law on this issue.
“Instead of the vigorous, sometimes frustrating, ‘arena of public debate and legislative action’ across the country and instead of other options provided by fifty governors and fifty state courts, we would look to one judiciary to sort it all out,” the Court wrote. “That is not how a constitutional democracy is supposed to work—or at least works best—when confronting evolving social norms and innovative medical options.”
Since this is an area of “unfolding medical and policy debate,” the Court found that decisions regarding the use of new and unproven drugs and medical interventions are properly left to the democratic process and not the courts. By seeking to prevent the Tennessee law from taking effect, the challengers are undermining the democratic process.
In addition, the Court found that “the challengers are unlikely to prevail on their due process and equal protection claims” because states clearly have the constitutional authority to enact laws protecting the health, safety, and well-being of children. We don’t allow children to get tattoos or buy cigarettes, for example.
But it’s the issue of debate that’s most important here—because we’re told it’s not allowed. The Associated Press, for example, the arbiter of American journalism, has declared that opposing opinions are illegitimate—wrongthink.
Reporters, the AP says, should “avoid false balance [by] giving a platform to unqualified claims or sources in the guise of balancing a story by including all views.” Yet the guide claims—without evidence—that “treatments can improve psychological well-being and reduce suicidal behavior.”
An international coalition of clinicians and researchers published a letter in the Wall Street Journal last week addressing these claims:
Every systematic review of evidence to date, including one published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, has found the evidence for mental-health benefits of hormonal interventions for minors to be of low or very low certainty. By contrast, the risks are significant and include sterility, lifelong dependence on medication and the anguish of regret… There is no reliable evidence to suggest that hormonal transition is an effective suicide-prevention measure.
That’s why European countries such as Sweden and France are moving away from the experimental treatments for gender dysphoria.
“Health care should not provide interventions that we do not know to be safe and beneficial,” noted Mikael Landén, a Swedish physician who co-authored a report on the issue in 2022. “From the lack of evidence follows that a conservative approach is warranted.”
The Sixth Circuit’s opinion confirms what the best available medical research and advocates for restricting these procedures have been saying all along: States like Tennessee and Texas have the right and duty to enact laws protecting children from unproven and potentially harmful medical interventions.