Judge blocks Alabama law that criminalizes prescribing puberty blockers for transgender youth


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Federal judge Friday new ban Alabama The law that made it a felony for doctors to prescribe puberty blockers and hormone therapy to minors, just one week after the law took effect.

US District Judge Lills Burke issued a preliminary injunction Friday to block and protect the Vulnerable Children’s Compassion Act amid a legal challenge against the legislation. The law was the first of its kind and state attorney general Steve Marshall suggested he would appeal the ruling.

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A person raises a flag during a rally protesting the then-transgender Trump administration's proposal to narrow the definition of gender to male or female at birth, at City Hall in New York City, U.S., October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

A person raises a flag during a rally protesting the then-transgender Trump administration’s proposal to narrow the definition of gender to male or female at birth, at City Hall in New York City, U.S., October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
(Reuters/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

In a statement Saturday morning, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said the ruling is a “temporary legal barrier.”

“We will continue to fight to protect the children of Alabama from these extreme, unproven, life-altering drugs, despite this temporary legal barrier,” Ivey said. “It is especially important when they are in such a vulnerable stage of life. We will continue to fulfill our duty to ensure that children are free to grow up to be the adults that God intended them to be, even with today’s societal pressures and modern culture.”

The law stated that providing puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or transitional surgery to anyone under the age of 19 was a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The part of the law criminalizing transitional surgery will remain in effect.

The judge also left in place a procedure that requires counselors and other school officials to notify parents if a minor discloses their belief that they are transgender.

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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is presented with an award in the Alabama 7A State Championship game between the Thompson Warriors and the Central-Phenix City Red Devils on December 4, 2019 at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is presented with an award in the Alabama 7A State Championship game between the Thompson Warriors and the Central-Phenix City Red Devils on December 4, 2019 at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A lawsuit has been filed by four families with transgender children alleging that the law is discriminatory, an unconstitutional violation of equal protections and free speech rights, and that it intrudes on the family’s medical decisions. The Ministry of Justice joined the lawsuit.

The Trump-appointed judge ruled that Alabama had not provided any credible evidence to show that the drugs were “experimental.”

He said, “The standard, uncontested evidence is that at least 22 major medical societies in the United States endorse transitional medications as well-established, evidence-based treatments for sexual dysphoria in minors.”

He also cited testimony from a mother who said she feared her child would commit suicide if access to transitional medication was blocked.

The opinion reads, “The Ordinance upholds and reaffirms the ‘enduring American tradition’ that parents – not state or federal courts – play the primary role in the care and welfare of their children.”

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Demonstrators in support of transgender rights gather outside the Alabama State Palace in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Demonstrators in support of transgender rights gather outside the Alabama State Palace in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
(Jake Crandall/Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

The law was one of several bills in Republican-led states to focus on transgender youth. However, an Alabama bill was the first to make it a crime to provide medication to physicians.

A judge blocked a similar law in Arkansas last year before it could go into effect.

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Legislation prohibiting Arkansas physicians from offering sex-confirming hormone therapy, puberty blockers, or surgery to anyone under 18 was initially veto Written by Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson last spring, but the state legislature overruled its veto. A federal judge blocked the bill in July.

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