Health Law

3 judges block state restrictions on gender-affirming health care in 1 week's time

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gavel and transgender flag

Nineteen states have adopted bans on transition care, according to the New York Times. Image from Shutterstock.

Within a one-week period, federal judges have blocked laws in three states that restrict gender-affirming health care for transgender people.

The decisions blocked laws in Indiana, Arkansas and Florida. The Arkansas law—which banned medical treatments for minors who were transitioning—was the first measure of its kind, report the Washington Post, the New York Times and Reuters.

Nineteen other states have since adopted bans on transition care, according to the New York Times.

Republican Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has vowed to file an appeal.

Here are specifics on the three decisions:

  • U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. of the Eastern District of Arkansas blocked and struck down an Arkansas law that prevented doctors and health care professionals from providing gender transition care to youths younger than age 18. The law also banned doctors from referring youths to other professionals for such treatments. The law violated rights to equal protection, due process and free speech, according to Moody. The case is Brandt v. Rutledge. (American Civil Liberties Union press release, the June 20 opinion, the Washington Post, the New York Times)
  • U.S. District Judge James Patrick Hanlon of the Southern District of Indiana issued a preliminary injunction blocking an Indiana law that bans physicians and other practitioners from knowingly providing gender transition procedures to a minor. The law also bars the health care professionals from aiding or abetting another health care provider who provides such procedures. The injunction applies during litigation. The case is K.C. v. Medical Licensing Board of Indiana. (American Civil Liberties Union press release, the June 16 decision)
  • U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida struck down Florida’s ban on Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care. Hinkle said the ban violated equal protection rights and two federal laws. Hinkle previously blocked a different Florida law that banned gender-affirming care for minors, but in that case, the injunction only applied to three minors whose parents had sued. The latest decision is Dekker v. Weida. (Politico here and here, the June 21 opinion)

Bans on medical treatments for transitioning minors have also been fully or partly blocked in Oklahoma and Alabama.

See also: “Judge cites challengers’ religious beliefs in blocking transgender health care requirements”

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