A federal judge in Georgia issued a preliminary injunction late Sunday suspending a provision in the state’s Senate Bill 140 from taking effect while a case filed by four families and an organization moves forward.
In her order, Judge Sarah E. Geraghty ruled that it is “substantially likely” that the plaintiffs will succeed in their effort to permanently strike down the law because it is unconstitutional. The state is prohibited from enforcing the ban on hormone therapy for adolescents with gender dysphoria until a decision on its merits is reached.
Four families in Georgia joined TransParent, a group whose members are parents of transgender kids, and filed Emma Koe, et al. vs. Caylee Noggle et al. to halt the recently passed and signed law from taking effect in June.
In March, Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed SB 140, revoking licenses for doctors who administer hormone replacement therapy to children. It also bans surgeries that are already not done. Young people who are cisgender are exempt from the law; they may receive care based on their gender identity as assigned at birth.
Sunday’s injunction keeps the ban on surgeries in place but eliminates the hormone therapy restrictions.
The decision comes after the same judge previously dealt the plaintiffs a blow when she declined to intervene in July because she said that, at the time, the plaintiff’s request was too late to stop the law from starting.
“This decision is an incredible victory for Georgia families. We are gratified that the Court carefully considered the evidence and appropriately applied the law in halting SB 140,” a statement from the plaintiffs' counsel said. “This law unapologetically targets transgender minors and denies them essential health care. The ruling restores parents’ rights to make medical decisions that are in their child’s best interest, including hormone therapy for their transgender children when needed for them to thrive and be healthy.”
Republicans claim that laws are needed to protect children from medical care for which they say kids cannot consent.
“Using hormone therapy to treat transgender youth when it is medically necessary is supported by every major medical organization in the country,” the plaintiffs' counsel’s statement explained. “Indeed, the Court found that the ban would ‘be likely to put some individuals at risk of the serious harms associated with gender dysphoria that gender-affirming care seeks to prevent.”
The statement continued, “We remain tireless in working for parents to be able to make critical decisions for their children and for transgender individuals to continue having access to the health care they deserve. We are hopeful that the strong rejection of this harmful, prejudicial law will stop the relentless attacks on the rights of transgender youth and their families.”
In blocking the ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth, the court joins the courts in Arkansas, Indiana, Alabama,, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida. However, the actions in Kentucky and Tennessee have been reversed on appeal. In June, a federal court overturned Arkansas’s ban for violating the First Amendment and the Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses.