Judge blocks Alabama law criminalizing prescribing puberty blockers to transgender youth

Judge blocks Alabama law criminalizing prescribing puberty blockers to transgender youth

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A federal judge on Friday blocked a new law in Alabama that made it a criminal offense for doctors to prescribe puberty blockers and hormone treatments to minors, just a week after the law went into effect.

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke on Friday issued an injunction to block the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act amid a legal challenge to the legislation. The law was the first of its kind and Attorney General Steve Marshall proposed to appeal the verdict.

ALABAMA ACT CRIMINALIZING GENDER TRANSITION SURGERY, DRUGS FOR MINORS, GOES INTO EFFECT

A person holds up a flag during a rally at City Hall in New York City, the United States, October 24, 2018 to protest the Trump administration's then-transgender proposal to restrict the definition of gender at birth to male or female .  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/ File Photo

A person holds up a flag during a rally at City Hall in New York City, the United States, October 24, 2018 to protest the Trump administration’s then-transgender proposal to restrict the definition of gender at birth to male or female . REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/ File Photo
(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

Alabama GOP Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement Saturday morning that the ruling was a “temporary legal roadblock.”

“Despite this temporary legal deadlock, we will continue to fight to protect Alabama’s children from these radical, unproven, life-changing drugs,” Ivey said. ‚ÄúThis is especially important when they are in such a vulnerable phase of life. We will continue to fulfill our duty to ensure that children have the freedom to grow into the adults God intended for them, even with today’s societal pressures and modern culture. “

The law made providing puberty blockers, hormone treatments or transitional surgery to anyone under the age of 19 a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The portion of the law criminalizing transitional surgery remains in effect.

The judge also left a measure requiring counselors and other school officials to notify parents when a minor reveals that he or she believes he is transgender.

ALABAMA JOINS FLORIDA TO BAN CERTAIN SCHOOL TEACHERS FROM DISCUSSING GENDER AND SEXUAL MATTERS

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is presented with an award during the Alabama 7A State Championship game between the Thompson Warriors and the Central-Phenix City Red Devils 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 during the Alabama 7A State Championship game between the Thompson Warriors and the Central-Phenix City Red Devils 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 the right to free speech, and that it interferes with family medical decisions. The Justice Department joined the lawsuit.

The Trump-appointed judge ruled that Alabama had failed to provide credible evidence that the drugs were “experimental.”

He said, “The unchallenged evidence of this is that at least twenty-two major medical associations in the United States advocate drug switching as well-established, evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors.”

He also cited the testimony of a mother who said she feared her child would commit suicide if access to the transition drugs was blocked.

“The introduction of the law confirms and reinforces the ‘enduring American tradition’ that parents – not the state or federal courts – play the primary role in the upbringing and care of their children,” the report said.

ALABAMA DOCTORS, PARENTS OF TRANSGENDER CHILDREN SUIT THE ACT BALANCING SEX-CHANGE HORMONES IN CHILDREN

Protesters in support of transgender rights gather in front of the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Alabama on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Protesters in support of transgender rights gather in front of the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Alabama on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
(Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

The law was one of several bills in GOP-led states that focused on transgender youth. However, the Alabama statute was the first to make it a criminal offense for physicians to provide the drugs.

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

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Legislation banning Arkansas doctors from offering gender-affirming hormone treatments, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 was originally opposed by Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson last spring, but the state legislature overruled the veto. The bill was blocked by a federal judge in July.

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