The Alabama Attorney General’s office is using the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to bring down Roe v. Wade to defend a ban on medical treatments considered life-saving by transgender people and doctors.
In a 76-page letter filed Monday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the state invoked the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization at least nine times, with the majority voting in favor of Judge Samuel Alito was invoked, who said the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not protect any right “that is not deeply rooted in the history and traditions of the country.”
“The legislature has determined that transitional treatments, in particular, are too risky to approve, so it is those treatments that claimants must demonstrate that the constitution protects,” the letter says. “But no one – adult or child – has the right to transfer treatments that are deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition. So the state can regulate or prohibit those interventions for children, even if an adult is taking the drugs for their child.” want.”
A message requesting comment was left on Wednesday with Melody Eagan, an attorney representing families of transgender youth who filed a lawsuit to block the law.
The state letter, filed just three days after the Dobbs decision repealed the constitutional right to abortion, reflects new tactics for the state and the fears of critics of the Dobbs decision that it would be used to promote rights beyond abortion. fall.
Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill in April making it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to minors under 19 years of age. The law also banned genital and reconstructive surgeries on minors, which are not performed in Alabama. The bill is one of several bills introduced by Republican politicians in recent years to target transgender youth.
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While there is a spectrum of treatments and therapies for individuals suffering from gender dysphoria, puberty blockers — whose effects are reversible — are given to individuals in the early stages of puberty who suffer from gender dysphoria. Hormones can be administered later to make a person’s body more in line with their gender identity.
Families of transgender youth and doctors filed a lawsuit to block the law, saying it was discriminatory and that losing access to treatments would put their children at risk of physical or psychological harm. During a trial in May, a counselor compared cutting off access to treatments to stopping therapy for a cancer patient. Witnesses also emphasized the multiple rounds of counseling, evaluation and contact with parents before children are given medication, and their clinical experience seeing the drugs improve the health of the transgender youth who have been given them.
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State attorneys repeatedly questioned the safety of the treatments and urged plaintiffs to testify about the drugs’ effects on fertility, often citing European studies that question the drugs’ benefits. They also suggested that many patients “cease” or align their bodies according to their gender during treatment.
Witnesses to the plaintiffs noted that no European country that had studied the drugs had gone as far as Alabama in criminalizing them, and that there were many “exit points” for individuals to receive treatment should they need it.
U.S. District Judge Liles Burke, appointed by President Donald Trump, issued a temporary injunction against the medical ban on May 14. Burke wrote that the law hampered parents’ ability to make medical decisions, and that the state had failed to resolve its case over drug harm.
“The record shows that at least twenty-two major medical associations in the United States endorse drug transition as well-established, evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors,” Burke wrote.
In its letter to the 11th Circuit, the Alabama Attorney General’s office invoked many of the arguments it advanced at trial, suggesting that Burke was not giving European medical studies proper credit. But in repeating those arguments, the office repeatedly invoked Dobbs, who was still pending in the U.S. Supreme Court at the time of Burke’s ruling.
“While the precedent holds that a substantive due process extends defined rights to parents, such as how to raise their children, this Court has recognized that a parent’s right to make decisions for his daughter cannot exceed his rights to receive medical treatment. make decisions. for themselves,” the letter said. “Since no adult or child has a fundamental right to transition from treatments, it necessarily follows that no parent has a right to those treatments for their child.”
The plaintiffs have until August 10 to respond.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brian Lyman at 334-240-0185 or [email protected]