Aug 22, 2023 - Health

Judge calls time out on Georgia's gender-affirming care ban

Illustration of a gavel with a trans flag on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Georgia's law prohibiting transgender minors from using certain medical treatments.

Why it matters: The hot-button issue dominated the conversation during the most recent legislative session and put Georgia among roughly 20 states with laws banning gender-affirming care for minors.

Catch up quick: The law prohibits doctors from administering hormone therapy or transition-related surgery to Georgia minors — though it exempts puberty blockers. Several pseudonymous Georgia families filed a lawsuit in late June the day before it took effect.

  • They argued that the law "infringes parents' fundamental right to make medical decisions in the best interests of their children" and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by singling out transgender minors.

What they're saying: In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Geraghty argued that the law violated the 14th Amendment and would likely "put some individuals at risk of the serious harms associated with gender dysphoria that gender-affirming care seeks to prevent."

  • The state has argued that more research is needed "before claiming that the benefits of allowing minors to receive hormone or surgical treatment outweigh any potential medical risks, such as blood clots, heart disease or infertility," the AJC reports.

The big picture: Federal judges in Kentucky and Tennessee recently allowed similar laws to take effect. Judges have also temporarily blocked Alabama's and Indiana's versions.

  • In early June, a federal judge in Arkansas struck down the state's first-in-the-nation ban.
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