Judge blocks Alabama law banning puberty blockers for kids, upholds ban on sex-change surgeries

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A judge has blocked the enforcement of an Alabama law that would criminally punish anyone who dispenses experimental drugs such as puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to a child suffering from gender confusion, which could lead to sterility. 

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke, who former President Donald Trump appointed, ruled last Friday to block the experimental drugs ban. However, he allowed the ban on sex-change surgeries that include such operations as an elective mastectomy to remove girls' breast tissue or an orchidectomy to remove both testicles or a vaginoplasty in which the penis is also removed. 

In his injunction, Burke argued that the plaintiffs were “likely to show that they have a fundamental right to treat their children with transitioning medications subject to medically accepted standards.”

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“The Act prevents Parent Plaintiffs from choosing that course of treatment for their children by criminalizing the use of transitioning medications to treat gender dysphoria in minors, even at the independent recommendation of a licensed pediatrician,” wrote Burke.

“While Defendants offer some evidence that transitioning medications pose certain risks, the uncontradicted record evidence is that at least twenty-two major medical associations in the United States endorse transitioning medications as well-established, evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors,” the judge added in his ruling. 

In April, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 184 into law, which is also known as the "Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act."

The law banned genital mutilation surgeries and the prescribing of experimental puberty blockers for children, making it a felony carrying a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

On the same day that she signed SB 184, Ivey also signed House Bill 322, which mandated that public schools “designate the use of rooms where students may be in various stages of undress upon the basis of biological sex” rather than chosen gender identity.

“The first bill makes clear — boys will only use the boys’ bathroom and ladies will only use the ladies’ bathroom. That’s Alabama common sense,” tweeted Ivey at the time.

“Here in Alabama, we’re going to go by how God made us: If the Good Lord made you a boy, you’re a boy, and if he made you a girl, you’re a girl. It’s simple.”

Shortly after SB 184 was signed, the Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the government on behalf of two families with gender dysphoric children.

“Transgender youth are a part of Alabama, and they deserve the same privacy, access to treatment, and data-driven health care from trained medical professionals as any other Alabamian,” said Tish Gotell Faulks of the ACLU of Alabama, in a statement last month.

“We will fight to make sure this is the reality for trans kids and their families, and we condemn the intrusive actions of the lawmakers who voted to use children as political pawns for their reelection campaigns.”

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