A federal judge has temporarily blocked a portion of Senate Bill 150, Kentucky's attempts at banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
KENTUCKY (RIOT) - U.S. District Judge David Hale sided with the ACLU of Kentucky on Wednesday in granting a temporary injunction, keeping aspects of gender-affirming care legal for the state. Puberty blockers and hormone therapy will remain accessible to those under 18 in Kentucky while a larger lawsuit unfolds.
The ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed suit in early May on behalf of seven families and their transgender children, arguing a ban on gender-affirming health care goes against constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. They contend that SB150 unfairly singles out transgender youth by blocking access to medical care that cisgender (identify as their born sex) youth can receive. They further contend that the bill unjustly limits a parental rights in making medical decisions for their children.
"We are grateful to the Court for enjoining this egregious ban on medically necessary care, which would have caused harm for countless young Kentuckians," said ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director Corey Shapiro. "This is a win, but it is only the first step. We’re prepared to fight for families’ right to make their own private medical decisions in court, and to continue doing everything in our power to ensure access to medical care is permanently secured in Kentucky."
"This decision is a huge relief for the families targeted by this unnecessary and harmful law, which prevents doctors from doing their jobs and parents from making medical decisions for their own children," said Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). "We are grateful that the court carefully considered all of the evidence and recognized that there is no support for this dangerous and unprecedented law."
"Today’s misguided decision by a federal judge tramples the right of the General Assembly to make public policy for the Commonwealth," said Attorney General Daniel Cameron in a statement. "Senate Bill 150 is a "commonsense law that protects Kentucky children from unnecessary medical experimentation with powerful drugs and hormone treatments. These procedures are not based on science, threaten the safety of minors, and have irreversible life-long consequences on children’s health. This is why other countries have moved to restrict such treatments, citing a lack of medical evidence and considerable long-term risks, and have called for the kind of protections contained in SB 150."
Contrary to AG Cameron's statement there is a vast number of scientific and medical societies that support gender-affirming care in youth including the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Department of Health & Human Services.
The lawsuit filed by the ACLU focuses on the aspect of puberty blockers and hormone therapy. The ban on gender-affirming surgeries on minors is not currently being challenged and will go into effect today along with other aspects such as bathrooms in schools and requirements for faculty to use chosen pronouns. It is very important to note that gender-affirming surgeries on minors were already not being practiced within the state, but legislators felt it necessary to include in this bill.
Many other state's attempts at bans on gender-affirming measures across the country have also been subject to legal scrutiny and restrictions. Federal judges have stopped a similar law in Indiana, Arkansas, Florida and more.
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