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Idaho asks Supreme Court to let it enforce ban on transgender care

By John Fritze, CNN

Washington (CNN) — Idaho officials asked the Supreme Court to let the state enforce a strict ban on gender-affirming treatments for minors in an emergency request made public Monday by one of the groups involved in the case.

The law, signed by Republican Gov. Brad Little last year, makes it a felony for doctors to provide medical treatment to transgender minors such as puberty-blocking drugs, hormone therapy and certain surgeries.  It also authorizes up to $5,000 in fines against medical professionals who provide that care.

A US District Court in Idaho temporarily blocked the law from taking effect late last year while the underlying case continues in federal court. The 9th US Court of Appeals upheld that decision in January.

More than 20 states have enacted laws banning gender-affirming care for minors, according to the Human Rights Campaign, though some of those laws have also been placed on hold by federal courts. The issue has generated considerable uncertainty for lower federal courts.

In November, several families and health care providers asked the Supreme Court to consider a similar ban in Tennessee. A federal judge in Tennessee temporarily blocked part of the law last year but the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals unwound that decision and later reversed the district court’s findings altogether.

That case is pending.

Idaho, which is being represented in part by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, argues that the lower court decisions to block the law were too broad because they swept in procedures banned under the act that the plaintiffs did not seek to continue.

Every day the law is blocked “exposes vulnerable children to risky and dangerous medical procedures and infringes Idaho’s sovereign power to enforce its democratically enacted law,” the state told the Supreme Court in its filing.

Li Nowlin-Sohl, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, described the law as “dangerous and discriminatory.” The group, which is representing transgender teenagers and their parents in the case, said it would urge the Supreme Court to “reject this request from the state and will never stop fighting this ban until Idaho is a safe place to raise every family.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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