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Federal judge blocks part of Alabama’s transgender medication law

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U.S. District Judge Liles Burke is blocking part of an Alabama law that makes it a felony to give gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors. The court issued a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the medication ban while a court challenge goes forward. The law itself took effect last Sunday. Parents with transgender children and the U.S. Department of Justice are challenging the legislation as unconstitutional. The judge left in place other parts of the law that banned gender-affirming surgeries and requires school officials to tell parents if a minor discloses that they are transgender. The legislation is the first in the country to levy criminal penalties against doctors who provide the medications.

APR student reporter Libby Foster previously reported that DOJ argues that the law discriminates against transgender minors. The CDC has found that transgender teens are at a greater risk for suicide. There is ongoing debate about the risks of hormone therapy for minors. Some of the effects of hormone therapy are reversible if an individual decides to stop treatment. Mike Lewis is the Communications Director at the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. He said the state won’t bend to federal pressure.

“In 2016, the Obama administration denied Medicare coverage for transition surgery for adults because the evidence used to support the treatments was so poor," he said. "Remarkably, the Biden administration threatened Alabama for agreeing that these treatments should not be available to kids either. Alabama refused to back down.”

Senate Bill 184, the official name of the ban, makes it a felony for any doctor or parent to assist a minor in seeking treatment. Those who violate the law would face up to 10 years in prison. The DOJ argues that this forces doctors, parents and children to choose between their health and criminal prosecution.

Lewis argues that hormone therapy and puberty blockers have negative effects.

“While healthcare authorities across the globe are responding to the growing body of evidence that using experimental drugs on vulnerable children suffering from gender dysphoria will lead to significant lifelong harm, the Biden administration has chosen to prioritize leftist politics at the expense of Alabama’s children,” he said.

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