11th Circuit: Alabama CAN Enforce Ban on Puberty Blockers and Hormones for Minors

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled (PDF) in August that a lower court erred when it issued a preliminary injunction against a section of the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act into law that bans doctors from giving puberty blockers or hormone treatments to people under 19.

The law also bans “transgender” surgery on minors and bars schools from keeping “gender identity” secrets from parents or encouraging children to keep secrets.

Doctors and school officials who violate this law face felony charges.

But enforcement of the law was on hold until the losing parties appealed to have the full Eleventh Circuit hear the case. The court ruled last week that Alabama could enforce the law to protect children.

Two minors claiming to be “transgender” filed a lawsuit against the state. They said the law denying them puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones denied them equal protection. The three-judge panel ruled that the lower court abused its discretion and used the wrong standard of scrutiny to side with the plaintiffs.

The proper standard of scrutiny was “rational basis,” not “strict scrutiny,” because being denied puberty blockers and hormone treatments as a minor is not a fundamental right the law burdens.

Attorney General Steve Marshall weighed in on the victory.

“The physical and psychological safety of our children can now be better protected from these untested and life-altering chemical and surgical procedures through the implementation of the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act,” he said. “This is a significant victory for our country, for children, and for common sense.”

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