Alabama transgender drug law blocked by judge


A federal judge on Friday blocked part of a law in Alabama that made it a felony to prescribe gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors.

US District Judge Liles Burke issued an injunction to prevent the state from enforcing the drug ban that went into effect May 8 amid a court challenge. The judge left in place other portions of the law that banned gender-affirming surgeries on transgender minors, which doctors had testified are not performed on minors in Alabama. He also left a provision requiring counselors and other school officials to inform parents when a minor discloses that he thinks he is transgender.

The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act made it a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to prescribe or administer gender-affirming drugs to transgender minors in order to confirm their new gender identity.

Burke ruled that Alabama had not presented credible evidence that transition drugs were “experimental,” while “the uncontested evidence is that at least twenty-two major medical associations in the United States endorse transition drugs as well-established and evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors.” “

“The passage 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,” Burke wrote in the statement.

The legislation was part of a wave of bills in Republican-controlled states regarding transgender minors, but was the first to impose criminal penalties on the doctors who provided the drugs. In Arkansas, a judge blocked a similar law before it went into effect. The U.S. Department of Justice and four families with transgender children have challenged the Alabama law as discriminatory, an unconstitutional violation of equal protections and the right to free speech, and an interference with family medical decisions.

“This is a great relief for transgender children and their families,” said Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, a pediatrician who founded a medical team in Birmingham that treats children with gender dysphoria, late Friday.

“The court’s decision recognizes that this is a well-established treatment that has been endorsed by 22 major medical associations. This decision will ensure that transgender children in Alabama and beyond can continue to receive this evidence-based, well-known life-saving care.”

Representatives for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall could not be immediately reached for comment late Friday night.

The Attorney General’s office argued that the use of the drugs was an unclear science and therefore the state had a role in regulating to protect children. During a court hearing before Burke, prosecutors argued that European countries are taking a more conservative approach to the drugs. The Alabama lawmaker, who approved the law this spring, said decisions about the drugs should wait until adulthood. “I am a firm believer that if the good Lord made you a boy you are a boy and if he made you a girl then you are a girl,” Ivey said when she signed the law into law last month .

The judge said Alabama’s evidence was unconvincing. He noted that a psychologist who testified that most children grow out of gender dysphoria never mentored a transgender child under the age of sixteen. The other state witness was a woman who testified that she regretted taking testosterone at the age of 19.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Endocrine Society both support the treatments that clinics offer to transgender youth here and in other states. More than 20 medical and mental health organizations have urged Burke to block the law. Alabama transgender drug law blocked by judge

Bobby Allyn

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