After Georgia passed a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender adolescents, the Southern Poverty Law Center and its partners filed a federal lawsuit to block the law from taking effect and seek a court order ruling that the law is unconstitutional.
The law, also known as SB 140, strips parents of their rights to make critical decisions about their child’s health care. It also prohibits medical providers from treating gender dysphoria in adolescents with hormone therapy. The plaintiffs asked that the law be blocked to prevent the government from inserting itself into personal health care decisions that should be made by parents in consultation with doctors and based on the needs and best interest of their children.
While several states, including Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana and Florida, have enacted similar bans that have been blocked by federal courts, Georgia’s law is unique in that it bans one aspect of treatment for gender dysphoria – hormone therapy – while allowing the provision of puberty blockers. However, the two treatments often go hand in hand when providing care for gender dysphoria. Puberty blockers are a short-term treatment that functions as a bridge to the next decision point for parents, youth and their doctors. Allowing transgender adolescents the use of puberty blockers while banning them from receiving hormonal care is constructing “a bridge to nowhere” for these youth, according to advocates for the plaintiffs.
The situation creates an impossible choice for parents, who either must flee the state to ensure their child has access to medically necessary care or discontinue puberty blockers and watch their child suffer untreated gender dysphoria for years.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.