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Federal Court Says State Can Protect Minors From Harmful Puberty Blockers, Cross-Sex Hormones

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Alabama can now enforce a law that would protect gender-confused minors from harmful puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and undergoing mutilating irreversible surgeries after a federal appeals court halted a preliminary injunction that had blocked enforcement of the 2022 law.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act will take effect while the full appellate court decides whether it will revisit the decision.

The court previously lifted a lower court’s injunction, but the decision was on hold while families with transgender children asked the full appellate court to reconsider. 

As CBN News reported, the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act would penalize doctors and healthcare providers with up to 10 years in prison or a $15,000 fine, or both, if they prescribe puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to a person under the age of 19. 

Lawyers representing parents of transgender adolescents originally challenged the ban on the grounds that “parents, not the government, are best situated to make these medical decisions for their children.”

The U.S. Department of Justice joined their lawsuit, seeking to overturn the law.

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“Alabama’s transgender healthcare ban will harm thousands of transgender adolescents across the state,” read a joint statement from GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign after last week’s decision. 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall called the recent order “a significant victory for our country, for children, and for common sense.”

“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,” said Marshall.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act into law in 2022.

As CBN News reported in August, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a judge’s temporary hold on the law.

“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,'” said the opinion from U.S. Circuit Judge Barbara Lagoa of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  “Nor have they shown that (the law) classifies on the basis of sex or any other protected characteristic.”

The judges wrote that states have “a compelling interest in protecting children from drugs, particularly those for which there is uncertainty regarding benefits, recent surges in use, and irreversible effects.”

Alabama joins the ranks of 22 other states that have enacted legislation to protect minors struggling with gender confusion. 

A full trial concerning the constitutionality of the ban is scheduled for August 2024.

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