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Gavel and Scales of Justice

Source: Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal judge has blocked parts of a state law to prohibit juveniles from accessing hormone therapy, puberty blockers, or surgical procedures for the purposes of gender transition care.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the measure into law April 5. The law, affecting people 18 and younger, was set to take effect July 1.

Shortly after the measure became law, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of four transgender minors who live in Indiana and their families.

The judge says his injunction covers all people not just the four transgender minors in the lawsuit.

In the 34-page ruling, Judge James Hanlon said the the partial injunction covers bans on:

  • Gender transition procedures, except reassignment surgery.
  • “Aiding or abeting another physician or practitioner in the provision of” prohibited transition procedures to a minor, as applied to speech.

ACLU lawyer Ken Falk on Wednesday told Hanlon the law would force the minors to experience puberty, causing irreversible physical changes inconsistent with their gender identity. He said although gender transition treatments have never been subjected to randomized, controlled trials, the benefits thousands of transgender people have enjoyed from such procedures over the years are more than enough to prove it works.

Arguing on behalf of the state, Solicitor General Tom Fisher said Wednesday before the judge that there is no objectively verifiable way to diagnose gender dysphoria in children. He also notes recent decisions by countries including the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden to tighten the rules on when minors can access gender-affirming care. He said the state already has the authority to regulate medical procedures and has a vested interest in protecting its people from potentially dangerous effects.

Falk has noted the countries in question only blocked access to such treatments through their national health care systems, not through private physicians.

The Indiana Youth Group estimates there are about 3,350 transgender people between the ages of 13 and 17 in Indiana.

Other states that also have banned gender-affirming care include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Federal judges in other states, including Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma, have put similar laws on hold.

No court has yet ruled on the constitutionality of such laws