Court Rules Transgender Procedures Not ‘Part Of History And Traditions’

On August 21, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a prior injunction against a law in Alabama that creates a felony charge for doctors who prescribe gender-affirming care to minors. The ruling follows several other appeals decisions in favor of state laws that prevent parents and medical personnel from prescribing hormone-blocking treatment to minors.

In ruling against the injunction, the three-judge appeals panel held that the plaintiffs failed to show that the Alabama law violates constitutional discrimination protections. The panel said in their opinion that the lower court had also incorrectly applied existing law to the case, and in doing so, had drawn conclusions not warranted by testimony.

Plaintiffs, who include a group of transgender minors, their parents, and various medical staff, allege that the Alabama law unfairly discriminates against them due to sex and age. The law restricts the use of hormone blockers and cross-sex treatments to persons under the age of 19.

However, the court saw the matter differently and ruled that the law does not discriminate against males or females seeking treatment and restricts both sexes equally. The court held that Alabama has the authority to ensure that minors are not harmed by experimental and potentially life-altering medical procedures for which there is little to no long-term research. In fact, many European nations have restricted the use of these treatments citing significant long-term harm that includes sterility and cardiovascular disease.

The court also rejected the idea that gender replacement therapy is not grounded in established science, specifically citing the lack of Federal Drug Administration approval for the use of these therapies in minors.

“Because the district court reviewed the law under the wrong standard of scrutiny in connection with both claims, the issuance of the preliminary injunction constituted an abuse of discretion,” the appeals court wrote in its opinion. “The district court erred as a matter of law by applying heightened scrutiny, and that error tainted its assessment of Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success.”

The decision to vacate the injunction in Alabama follows on similar rulings in Tennessee and Kentucky on similar grounds to the Alabama case. At least 12 of the 16 “Southern” states have now passed laws restricting parents from medically altering the gender of their minor children. Several laws are currently under appeal following additional injunctions.