Judge Allows Georgia to Enforce Ban on Hormone Replacement Therapy

Georgia can resume enforcing a ban on hormone replacement therapy for transgender people under 18. Judge Sarah Geraghty ruled Tuesday that her previous order blocking the ban will be placed “on hold after a federal appeals court allowed Alabama to enforce a similar restriction.”

As reported, “attorneys for the state had asked Judge Geraghty to vacate the preliminary injunction in light of the Alabama decision.” Some refinements exist between the Alabama federal decision and the scope of Judge Geraghty’s decision. However, Geraghty said “keeping her injunction in place was not possible after last month’s ruling on Alabama’s law by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

The jurisdiction of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals includes Georgia. Judge Geraghty “issued a stay, or hold, on her injunction in anticipation of a possible rehearing of the Alabama case before a larger panel of the court’s judges.” The Associated Press sought clarification of the scope of the judge’s ruling from the Georgia attorney general’s office. As reported, “attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Georgia case said they would comment later Tuesday.”

The 11th Circuit panel’s ruling last month said Alabama can implement a ban on the use of puberty blockers and hormones to treat transgender children. It came a day after Geraghty issued her preliminary injunction.

Background information on this case discloses that the Georgia law, Senate Bill 140, allows doctors to prescribe puberty-blocking medications, and it allows minors who are already receiving hormone therapy to continue. “But it bans any new patients under 18 from starting hormone therapy. It also bans most gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people under 18.”

Reporting indicated that “puberty blockers and other hormone treatments are far more common than surgery.” Reporting alleges that puberty blockers and other hormone treatments have been available in the U.S. for more than a decade. Moreover, some sources allege that they are “standard treatments backed by major doctors organizations, including the American Medical Association.”

 Senate Bill 140 took effect July 1. Geraghty granted a preliminary injunction blocking it on Aug. 20. The injunction was sought by several transgender children, parents and a community organization in a lawsuit challenging the ban.

Reporting on her August decision indicates that Geraghty said the transgender children who sought the injunction faced “imminent risks” from the ban, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Geraghty “said those risks outweighed any harm to the state from an injunction.”

The 11th Circuit judges viewed differently the impact of the legislation. The 11th Circuit ruled that a state has “a compelling interest in protecting children from drugs, particularly those for which there is uncertainty regarding benefits, recent surges in use, and irreversible effects.”

D & B Staff

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