Quick Takes

ACLU asks appeals court to let trans minors get gender-affirming care

By: - July 18, 2023 10:40 pm

Students gathered at the Capitol to protest SB 150, which removed access to gender-affirming medical care for trans minors. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

Citing potential “irreparable harm” to the transgender minors it represents, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky has asked the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to allow them to access gender-affirming care once again. 

The request for emergency relief came days after a federal judge stayed a temporary block on part of a new law. Senate Bill 150, among other things, banned gender-affirming medical care like hormones and puberty blockers for transgender minors.

That stay meant that SB150, is enforceable for the first time. It passed in 2023 but a judge kept it from going into law in June.

In other words, trans minors in Kentucky at this time cannot access gender-affirming medical care.

“If the Sixth Circuit does not act on our emergency motion, SB 150 will cause the irreparable harm the preliminary injunction was intended to prevent,” Corey Shapiro, the legal director for the ACLU of Kentucky, said in a statement. “Kentucky doctors will be prohibited from continuing to provide appropriate, recommended, and necessary care to transgender minors, who will suffer severe psychological and physical harm as a result. We are asking the Sixth Circuit simply to allow transgender youth in Kentucky to continue to receive the very same medical care previously prescribed by their health care providers.”  

A similar ruling in Tennessee

In late June, U.S. District Court Judge David Hale in Louisville sided with the ACLU of Kentucky in temporarily blocking the section of Senate Bill 150 that banned certain health care options like puberty blockers for transgender minors.

On July 8, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, overturned a similar district court ruling in Tennessee, allowing that state’s ban on gender-affirming medical care for trans minors to take effect.

Hale based his Friday decision, temporarily reinstating Kentucky’s ban, on the appeals court ruling in the Tennessee case, the Lantern previously reported.

This story may update. 

A crowd protesting anti-trans legislation staged a “die in” on the Kentucky Capitol grounds on March 29, 2023. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Sarah Ladd)


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.