ACLU files suit over ban on gender transition services

Published 11:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2023

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Kentucky Today

The ACLU of Kentucky filed suit Wednesday to stop a portion of Senate Bill 150 that bans performing transgender medical procedures — such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries — on minors.

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Other parts of Senate Bill 150, which deal with school bathroom policies, guidance for teachers around student pronouns and rules around teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation, are not part of the lawsuit. Those pieces of the law are already in effect.

Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed Senate Bill 150, but his veto was overriden by the overwhelmingly Republican House and Senate. The Senate voted 29-8 to override the governor’s veto and lawmakers in the House voted 76-23 to override.

“The off-label use of puberty blockers, along with cross-sex hormones and surgery, in experimental gender ‘transitions’ has no place in children’s healthcare — the irreversible harms that de-transitioners have suffered testify to that,” said David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation, after the veto vote.

At least 16 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender transition services for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Federal judges have blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas and nearly two dozen states are considering bills this year to restrict or ban care.

The suit was filed on behalf of seven unnamed Kentucky families along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firm Morgan Lewis.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, claims the ban would violate the constitutional rights of Kentucky adolescents and their parents. The prohibition interferes with parents’ ability to obtain established treatments for their transgender adolescent children, the suit said.

“Under the Constitution, trans youth in Kentucky have the right to medically necessary care,” Corey Shapiro, legal director for the ACLU of Kentucky, said in a statement. “We are filing litigation today to protect against this imminent threat to their well-being and make certain they can thrive by continuing to receive medical care.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office said it was reviewing the lawsuit and “determining next steps” in defending the law, according to an AP story.

“Parents, not the government, should make medical decisions for their children,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. “This is a dangerous law that intrudes on family privacy and prevents doctors from doing their job. We are honored to represent the families bringing this lawsuit in order to protect their children and ensure that other children and families are not harmed.”