Federal court upholds Indiana's ban on gender transitioning procedures for minors

Appeals court decision enables immediate enforcement of controversial law restricting gender-affirming treatments.

Federal court upholds Indiana's ban on gender transitioning procedures for minors
AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File
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The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a previously issued injunction, allowing Indiana's law that bans transgender medical services for minors to be enforced immediately. This decision, reported by FOX59 News, overturns a lower court's stance from June and puts into effect a law signed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in April.

Under this legislation, individuals under the age of 18 in Indiana are now prohibited from receiving gender surgeries, cross-sex hormones, and puberty blockers. The law, which faced immediate legal challenges upon its approval, was initially intended to take effect last July but was delayed due to legal challenges until this recent ruling, Fox 59 reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the ban last summer on behalf of four transgender individuals and a doctor who provides transgender medical services in Indiana. The legislation also makes it illegal to assist another physician in providing gender transition procedures to minors.

Governor Holcomb defended the law's intent, stating, "Permanent gender-changing surgeries with lifelong impacts and medically prescribed preparation for such a transition should occur as an adult, not as a minor."

"There has and will continue to be debate within the medical community about the best ways to provide physical and mental health care for adolescents who are struggling with their own gender identity, and it is important that we recognize and understand those struggles are real," the governor added.

However, Governor Holcomb also expressed concerns about the bill's clarity prior to its signing, describing it as "clear as mud" and highlighting its perceived vagueness. Despite these concerns, the bill's author, State Senator Tyler Johnson, lauded the legislation as a "common-sense policy to help protect kids."

Indiana joins a growing list of 23 states that have enacted bans or restrictions on transgender medical services for minors, sparking widespread debate over the impacts of such treatments. Critics of gender-affirming procedures for minors point to the potential permanent effects and serious health risks associated with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, including impacts on bone growth, fertility, and increased risks of cancer and cardiovascular issues.

Concurrently, the identification of transgender youth in the United States is at an all-time high, with an estimated 300,000 minors aged 13 to 17 identifying as transgender as of 2022, a figure that has continued to rise. 

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