A federal appellate court has unanimously upheld an Alabama law prohibiting physicians from performing transgender medical interventions on children.
Alabama’s Senate Bill 184 (SB 184) – aptly named the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act – makes it a felony to prescribe or administer puberty blockers and opposite-sex hormones to children and to perform “sex-change” surgeries upon them “for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of or affirm the minor’s perception of his or her gender or sex, if that appearance or perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex” (Section 4(a)(1)–(3)).
The legislation was implemented a month after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed SB 184 into law on April 8, 2022.
Within days, radical left groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders challenged the law in court.
The law went into effect on May 8, 2022 and made Alabama the first state in the Union to successfully protect children from harmful and experimental transgender medical interventions.
But on May 13, 2022, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke issued a preliminary injunction against the law. However, the district judge kept the law’s prohibition on “sex-change” surgeries for minors in place.
Now, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit lifted the lower court’s injunction on August 21, 2023.
Judge Barbara Lagoa authored the 11th Circuit’s opinion; she was joined by Judges Andrew Brasher and Judge J.P. Boulee, all appointees of former President Donald Trump. Judge Brasher also wrote a separate concurring opinion.
Judge Lagoa wrote that the district court “abused its discretion in issuing [the] preliminary injunction,” adding:
The plaintiffs have not presented any authority that supports the existence of a constitutional right to “treat [one’s] children with transitioning medications subject to medically accepted standards.”
Judge Lagoa concluded that judges must not violate the government’s separation of powers, emphasizing:
This case revolves around an issue that is surely of the utmost importance to all of the parties involved: the safety and wellbeing of the children of Alabama. But it is complicated by the fact that there is a strong disagreement between the parties over what is best for those children.
Absent a constitutional mandate to the contrary, these types of issues are quintessentially the sort that our system of government reserves to legislative, not judicial, action.
Well said, judge!
In a statement after the ruling, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall called the ruling a “significant victory for our country, for children, and for common sense,” adding:
The State has the authority to safeguard the physical and psychological wellbeing of minors, even if the United States Attorney general and radical interest groups disapprove.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Ryan Bangert also applauded the ruling. “Alabama is right to protect minors from harmful, irreversible, and experimental medical procedures that can permanently alter children’s bodies without any proven long-term benefit,” said Bangert, adding:
Activist groups and professionals with large financial interests continue to push harmful puberty-blockers, potentially sterilizing cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries upon children too young to understand the long-term implications for their lives.
The 11th Circuit rightly agreed that Alabama is free to implement laws that protect vulnerable children and give them time to flourish.
The 11th Circuit’s decision is a great victory for children. All children deserve to be protected from transgender medical interventions, and we should never stop pressing forward until they do.
In a contrary ruling issued in Georgia on the same day as the 11th Circuit’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Sarah Geraghty blocked the state from enforcing its law prohibiting physicians from prescribing puberty blockers and opposite-sex hormones to children.
It is likely an appeal of that ruling will be sought; any appeal will go to the 11th Circuit, which hears appeals cases from Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
It is likely the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually be asked to decide the constitutionality of state laws protecting minors from transgender medical interventions. Whether such a request will come from these cases involving Alabama and Georgia remains to be seen.
The Daily Citizen will keep you updated with any important developments in these cases.
The Alabama case is Eknes-Tucker v. Governor of the State of Alabama.
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