A federal judge has invalidated a Kentucky law that prevented individuals under the age of 18 from accessing transgender medical treatments. U.S. District Judge David Hale ruled that the law, known as Kentucky Senate Bill 150, violated the U.S. Constitution.
Ruling Highlights Enforcement of Gender Conformity
Kentucky Senate Bill 150, which prohibited cross-sex hormone therapies and sex-reassignment surgeries for minors and imposed restrictions on bathroom use based on biological sex, was declared unlawful by Judge Hale. He stated that regardless of the law’s intent, it effectively enforced gender conformity.
Support from Major Medical Associations
The court recognized that the medical treatments and medications banned by SB 150 are widely used by transitioning children and are endorsed by prominent medical organizations in the country. This includes the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association.
Emphasizing Safe Use of Drugs
In his ruling, Judge Hale noted that “these drugs have a long history of safe use in minors for various conditions. It is undisputed that puberty-blockers and hormones are not given to prepubertal children with gender dysphoria.”
School Restrictions and Its Impact
SB 150 also prohibited the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. It was enacted into law in March by Republican super-majorities in both chambers, despite a veto by Democratic Governor Andy Beshear.
Advocacy and Support from ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky, in collaboration with other LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, minors, and their parents, challenged the law in court. They argued that denying transgender medical treatments to transgender teenagers could increase their risk of suicide and lead to other detrimental effects.
Recognizing the Serious Consequences
The court sided with the plaintiffs, highlighting that a ban on sex-reassignment surgeries could lead to severe psychological distress and force individuals to relocate to other states.
Continued Efforts for Medical Rights
Corey Shapiro, legal director of ACLU-KY, applauded the decision as a starting point towards safeguarding transitioning medical treatments in the Republican-controlled legislature. He also stated that they are prepared to fight for families’ autonomy in making private medical decisions and will strive to ensure permanent access to medical care in Kentucky.
Opposition to the Ruling
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron criticized the court’s decision, asserting that SB 150 safeguards children from unnecessary medical experimentation. Cameron pledged to continue defending the law.