By Brendan Pierson
(Reuters) – A federal judge in Kentucky on Wednesday blocked a state law prohibiting the use of puberty blocking drugs and hormones for transgender children from taking effect while he hears a lawsuit challenging the ban, the latest in a series of similar rulings around the country.
U.S. District Judge David Hale in Louisville found that the seven families of transgender children suing over the law were likely to prevail, writing that puberty blockers and hormones were “medically appropriate and necessary for some transgender children.”
He said that the plaintiffs — including six children currently receiving treatments that would be banned by the law, and one who expects to receive such treatments in the future — would be harmed if the law were allowed to take effect.
“We are grateful to the Court for enjoining this egregious ban on medically necessary care, which would have caused harm for countless young Kentuckians,” Corey Shapiro of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
“Today’s misguided decision by a federal judge tramples the right of the General Assembly to make public policy,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, said in a statement, calling the ban “a commonsense law that protects Kentucky children from unnecessary medical experimentation.
In March, Kentucky’s Republican-controlled General Assembly overrode the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear.
In their May lawsuit, the families claimed that the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s right to equal protection by prohibiting medical treatments on the basis of sex, as well as parents’ right to make medical decisions for their children.
A slew of Republican-led states have passed laws similar to Kentucky’s since 2021. The measures have been challenged in court and have so far been fully or partially blocked in states including Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana and Florida.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Lisa Shumaker)
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