Alabama Judge Rejects DOJ’s Bid to Halt Lawsuit Against Ban on Transgender Procedures for Minors

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
December 27, 2023Judiciary
Alabama Judge Rejects DOJ’s Bid to Halt Lawsuit Against Ban on Transgender Procedures for Minors
A care worker carries a bed in the emergency department of a hospital in a file photo. (Lou Benoist/AFP via Getty Images)

A federal judge in Alabama on Tuesday declined to halt litigation challenging the state’s ban on puberty blockers and other transgender procedures for minors who experience discomfort with their biological sex.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke issued a decision rejecting a request from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to temporarily pause the Alabama case while appellate courts determine whether they will hear related petitions addressing the legality of states imposing such bans, reported CBS News.

The DOJ, which filed a lawsuit against the state’s ban in April 2022, had argued in its request for a stay that the “exceptional legal landscape is quickly evolving,” noting that decisions are pending in similar cases in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Judge Burke, an appointee of President Donald Trump, asserted in his ruling that the case would move forward at this time, leaving the door open for a potential stay later if the related petitions in the Kentucky and Tennessee cases are granted.

Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed Senate Bill 184, known as the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, into law in 2022. The legislation prohibits health care providers from administering cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, and sex change surgeries to minors.

Furthermore, the legislation bars nurses, counselors, teachers, principals, or other school officials from keeping secret from parents if their child doesn’t identify with their birth gender.

The state law makes it a felony for any person to “engage in or cause” specified types of transgender medical procedures for minors, which defenders of the ban have said “protects minors from harmful and unnecessary medical procedures.”

Doctors who violate the law could face penalties of up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000.

In the past several years, Kentucky, Tennessee, and 20 other states have implemented legislation that restricts medical professionals from conducting sex-change procedures on minors.

The Epoch Times contacted the DOJ for comment.

Care or Harm?

Critics have decried such bans as discriminating against minors who identify as transgender by denying them access to certain “necessary medical care” and as negatively impacting their mental health.

A lawsuit was filed against the ban by the families of minors who identify as transgender and a doctor who provides such procedures and treatments to minors.

“The families say being denied medically necessary care will be devastating for the mental and physical health of their adolescent children,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The DOJ, in its April 2022 lawsuit, claimed that the ban violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of sex and transgender status.

The ACLU took further legal action against Tennessee, filing a lawsuit in April that argued the law restricted “medically necessary treatment” and encroached on parents’ “fundamental rights to access essential medical care for their adolescent children.”

Following this, the ACLU expanded its legal challenge in the next month, filing a second lawsuit against Kentucky, alleging that the state’s ban would lead to “severe and irreparable harm.”

Meanwhile, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is defending the ban, has said that political activists and interest groups are targeting children who struggle with gender dysphoria.

Activists and interest groups are “pushing a radical agenda claiming that the solution to these children’s distress is to push experimental, life-altering drugs and surgeries that prevent healthy puberty, radically alter the child’s hormonal balance, remove healthy external or internal organs and body parts, and inflict potentially permanent sterilization,” according to ADF.

Gender dysphoria is typically described as distress associated with strong discomfort with one’s biological sex. It is the medical foundation upon which transgender procedures are prescribed. However, ADF argues that “there has been no demonstrable benefit from such extreme measures.”

The trial in the Alabama case is set to go ahead in April 2024.

From The Epoch Times

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