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Appeals Court Upholds Kentucky’s Prohibition of Transgender Care for Minors

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of Kentucky’s ban on gender-transition care for young transgender individuals while the case is being litigated.

The decision was made by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, with a 2-1 vote. This ruling aligns with a previous decision made by the same panel in a similar case in Tennessee.

The Kentucky law, enacted this year despite the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, prohibits transgender minors from accessing puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

This move by Kentucky adds to the growing number of states that have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. While most of these states are facing lawsuits, a federal judge has already declared Arkansas’ ban as unconstitutional. In other states, judges have issued different rulings on the enforcement of these laws during litigation.

Initially, U.S. District Judge David Hale had blocked Kentucky from enforcing the ban. However, he lifted the injunction on July 14 after the Sixth Circuit’s ruling in the Tennessee case.

Seven transgender children and their parents have filed a lawsuit to block the Kentucky law, arguing that it violates their constitutional rights and interferes with their parental rights to seek medical treatment for their children.

In their ruling, Judges Jeffrey Sutton and Amul Thapar stated that the issues in the Kentucky case are essentially the same as those in the Tennessee case. They believe that decisions on emerging policy issues such as transgender care should be left to legislatures rather than judges.

However, the dissenting judge, Helene White, pointed out that Kentucky’s ban does not include a grace period for patients already receiving treatment, unlike Tennessee’s law. White believes that the need for an injunction to block the ban in Kentucky is even greater than in Tennessee.

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