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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Federal Judge Blocks Law that Protects Kids From Genital Mutilation

(Headline USA) A federal judge issued an order Friday stopping part of an Indiana ban on genital and hormonal mutilation on minors from taking effect as scheduled.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sought the temporary injunction in its legal challenge of the Republican-backed law, which was enacted this spring amid a national push by GOP-led legislatures to curb genital and hormonal mutilation.

The order from U.S. District Court Judge James Patrick Hanlon will allow the law’s prohibition on gender-bending surgeries to take effect. Hanlon’s order blocks provisions that would prohibit Indiana doctors from communicating with out-of-state doctors about genital and hormonal mutilation for their patients younger than 18.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit within hours after Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill. The challenge, on behalf of four youths undergoing transgender treatments and an Indiana doctor who provides such care, argued the ban would violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection guarantees.

Indiana’s Legislature approved the ban after contentious hearings.

Hanlon, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote that he was blocking the law from taking effect because its opponents had demonstrated potential irreparable harm to those undergoing treatment and shown “some likelihood of success” in arguments that it was unconstitutional.

ACLU leaders hailed the ruling as a victory.

“We won’t rest until this unconstitutional law is struck down for good,” Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director, said in a statement.

At least 20 GOP-led states have now enacted laws restricting or banning such genital and hormonal mutilation for minors. Federal judges have also blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas.

Republican state Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office said in a statement it was disappointed in the decision but that “we will continue to fight for the children.” The statement said the ruling “recognizes that the State has shown there are good reasons for regulating gender transition procedures for minors.”

The office didn’t say whether it would attempt to appeal the injunction before July 1.

A top attorney for the state told Hanlon during a court hearing on Wednesday that risks from gender-affirming treatments during puberty such as future fertility, bone strength, brain development and possible reversibility had not been adequately studied by scientists.

Such factors make it within the Legislature’s authority to decide “we don’t want our children to be part of this grand experiment,” Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher said.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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