Montgomery, Ala. ( Associated Press) — A federal judge on Friday blocked a section of Alabama law that makes prescribing gender-affirming puberty inhibitors and hormones to transgender minors a felony.
US District Judge Lillees Burke issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing the drug ban, which took effect May 8, while a court challenge went ahead. The judge left out other parts of the law that banned gender-affirming surgery for transgender minors and required counselors, teachers and other school officials to tell parents if a minor discloses that They think they are transgender.
The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act punishes transgender minors with up to 10 years in prison for prescribing or administering gender-affirming medication to help them confirm their new gender identity.
Burke ruled that Alabama had offered no credible evidence to show that transfective drugs are “experimental,” while “unexpected record evidence is that at least twenty-two major medical associations in the United States recommend transfusion drugs as well.” has been supported as an established, evidence-based treatment for gender dysphoria in minors.”
Burke wrote in the opinion, “Joining the Act upholds the ‘enduring American tradition’ and reaffirms that parents—state or federal courts—play a primary role in the nurturing and care of their children.”
The law was part of a wave of bills in Republican-controlled states regarding transgender minors, but it is the first to impose criminal penalties against doctors who provide drugs. In Arkansas, a judge blocked a similar law before it took effect.
The US Department of Justice and four families with transgender children challenged the Alabama law as discriminatory, an unconstitutional violation of equal protection and freedom of speech, and intrusion into family medical decisions.
The state attorney general’s office says the law is constitutional and is intended to protect children. “Science and common sense are on Alabama’s side. We will win this battle to protect our children,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said recently.
Alabama lawmakers who approved the bill this spring said decisions on drugs should wait until adulthood.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Endocrine Society both support the treatments that clinics here and in other states are providing for transgender youth. More than 20 medical and mental health organizations urged Burke to block the law. “Gender-affirming medical care is a recognized, accepted standard of care for adolescents suffering from or suffering from gender dysphoria,” a lawyer wrote in the motion.
Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, a pediatrician who founded the Birmingham medical team treating children with gender dysphoria, testified last week that her clinic is one of about 55 nationwide.