A federal judge blocked a Kentucky law that restricted individuals under the age of 18 from accessing transgender medical treatments, saying Wednesday that it violates the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge David Hale ruled Kentucky Senate Bill 150, which prohibits cross-sex hormone therapies and sex-reassignment surgeries for minors as well as restricts bathroom use by biological sex, was illegal as “regardless of its stated purpose” the law “would have the effect of enforcing gender conformity.”
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ruled medical drugs and treatments that are prohibited by SB 150 are widely used by transitioning children and are accepted by “all major medical organizations” in the country. Every major medical group including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association, supports transgender medical treatments for minors.
“These drugs have a long history of safe use in minors for various conditions. It is undisputed that puberty-blockers and hormones are not given to prepubertal children with gender dysphoria,” Hale ruled.
SB 150 also bans instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Republican super-majorities in both chambers passed the legislation into law in March after they overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and other LGBTQ+ advocacy groups joined several minors and their parents to challenge the law in court, arguing that denying transgender medical treatments to trans teens negatively impacts them and increases their risk of suicide.
The court sided with the plaintiffs and said the elimination of sex-reassignment surgeries would result in serious consequences such as “severe psychological distress and the need to move out of state.”
The court clarified its decision “will not result in any child being forced to take puberty-blockers or hormones; rather, the treatments will continue to be limited to those patients whose parents and healthcare providers decide, in accordance with the applicable standard of care, that such treatment is appropriate.”
Corey Shapiro, ACLU-KY’s legal director, applauded the decision but said it was only a “first step” in securing transitioning medical treatments in the Republican-controlled legislature.
“This is a win, but it is only the first step. We’re prepared to fight for families’ right to make their own private medical decisions in court, and to continue doing everything in our power to ensure access to medical care is permanently secured in Kentucky,” Shapiro said.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron criticized the District Court’s ruling.
“Senate Bill 150 is a commonsense law that protects Kentucky children from unnecessary medical experimentation with powerful drugs and hormone treatments,” Cameron said, according to CBS News. “There is nothing ‘affirming’ about this dangerous approach to mental health, and my office will continue to do everything in our power to defend this law passed by our elected representatives.”
At least 11 states have enacted laws restricting or banning transgender medical treatments for minors, including Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.